304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
Maryland born, LA-based, Dennis Jones got his first guitar at thirteen: so began a love of music and, supported by his parents, he was soon performing in the local area. After serving in the military for few years, life and love took over and he got a ‘proper’ job although the music was ever present as he explored the roots of the music he had come to appreciate…Gallagher was a big influence. He got laid off from his job as an elevator technician, but that was just the lift (sorry, couldn’t resist!) he needed to move into music full-time: and so the Dennis Jones Band began their journey. With five releases under his belt, it is time now for a new album and a live one at that. The band consists of Jones on guitar and lead vocals, Sam Correa on bass and backing vocals and Raymond Johnson on drums. To record this live album, they convened at a venue known as Beaver Creek Brewery, which, apparently, is in a Montana town called Wilbaux…should you be heading that way, surely a live blues venue in a brewery cannot be bettered!
The album, called We3 Live, for reasons I am unclear on as it is not a London postcode (unless it is ‘we three’ (Kings of Orient are?!)), contains 14 tracks featuring selections from all five of Jones’ solo albums as well as a cover of the Albert King classic Born Under a Bad Sign.
Opening with Blue Over You, we can hear straightaway where and why these guys are so popular in their area. This is a funky blues that showcases Jones’ abilities as a guitarist and singer. Although fairly laid back in the Robert Cray vein, the two solos are sweet and ramp it up beyond the Cray feel the verses engender. Next up is a shuffle: When I Die, is right in SRV land and has a great plodding (in a good way) backline. The solo isn’t fluid, but it is live and sounds great with the exploration of all of the fretboard. Nearly eight minutes of Passion For The Blues is not long enough for me, as the bass and drums lay down the beat while Jones sings of all his blues heroes from Robert Johnson through BB to Etta to SRV. A couple of thoughtful, well-executed solo, without histrionics, improves this song no end and is my firm favourite. We even get a similarly crafted bass solo…not enough of them in my humble. Straight into Stray Bullet without introduction and here we get a soulful take on the blues with the guitar solo sounding a little Trower, which is no bad thing. Hot Sauce is next with a rapid backbeat and a chugging riff as Jones salutes food with hot sauces! “It’s hot going in and hot coming out!”…can’t argue with that. The solo has Hendrix’ Third Stone from the Sun references and is a blast. Don’t Worry About Me brings a slower Texas blues feel to the proceedings and has a lot of Hendrix again, with the guitar phrasing and even Jones’ voice, conjuring up the great man in a fitting and expert way. Next is a demonstration of how to fill a shuffle with swing and come out with an entertaining blues song comparing love and cars…or just the love of cars; either works on Super Deluxe. Funk is the predominant feature of Enjoy the Ride, as the bass and drums show an almost telepathic understanding during the complex backing to a Stevie Salas style piece of guitar playing. You Don’t Know a Thing About Love manages to put the blues into a samba rhythm and lace it with a bit of soul too. Kill The Pain does start a little like Black Velvet (if you please) but evolves into a heavy blues shuffle with more Hendrix inflections in his playing and singing. A brilliant solo takes the thoughts of Alannah Miles away altogether. Big Black Cat takes a left turn into jazz territory but, married with stinging guitar work throughout, it works really well. Devil’s Nightmare heads further south than expected as we end up in the Caribbean for a funk variation on the blues. More Salas references on the guitar melody, but as the guitar and bass perform the closest to a duet you are likely to find, you are transported to a different world entirely and, to top it off, the solo is superb. Penultimate song, I’m Good, is back to Texas for a solid blues-rock number with hints of Albert Collins in the phrasing. Another Albert is responsible for the album closer: Albert King’s Born Under A Bad Sign is given a Hendrix like makeover (we even get a slice of Voodoo Chile in the solo) with a deal of success. It is a great way to wrap up what must have been a hell of a night in that brewery.
This is a fine live album with so much to recommend it…yes, Jones does play the Hendrix card quite a lot both vocally and on the guitar…but then when he is this good, it can be forgiven and just enjoyed for what it is…three guys delivering a very good set of genuine and original blues. This is sufficiently good enough that I will be seeking out his previous albums for the source material here.
Recorded Live at Beaver Creek Brewery, Massachusetts
Dennis Jones: guitar, vocals
Sam Correa: bass, backing vocals
Raymond Johnson: drums