Lloyd Jones
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Lloyd Jones

Portland, Oregon, United States

Portland, Oregon, United States
Band Blues Funk


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"Love Gotcha, Blues Revue March 2000"

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Lloyd Jones is back with a new album and a new label. His last release, 1995's brilliant Trouble Monkey (AudioQuest), is one of the best albums of the '90s. Though this one doesn't grab as fast and as hard as Trouble Monkey, it's a worthy successor. Love Gotcha features intelligent songwriting and tight, energetic ensemble work by his band, The Struggle.

Nine of the tunes are originals that run the gamut from sinewy funk to rockin' blues to Southern soul. A funky lament for crime victims, the hard-hitting "Nickels and Dimes," opens the album with acerbic commentary. Most of the remaining songs deal with the perils of modern romance. Among my favorites are the tide track, a Southern soul shuffle a la Arthur Conley and his mentor, Otis Redding; the Delta slide rockabilly rampage "Fool's Gold"; and the blistering double entendre blues-rocker "Highway Rider."

Three lesser-known covers fill the middle of the album. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee's "Ride and Roll" is Chuck Berry in overdrive, while Don Covay's lilting "Ain't Nothing a Young Girl Can Do (Except Show Me Where an Older Woman Lives)" is sound advice for men approaching middle age. The obscure funk-burner "Hurtin' House" rounds out the covers.

The only tune that seems out of place is the whimsical acoustic blues "Big 01' Shirt." It's not bad, but it's better suited for an album by Steve James or Ball & Sultan. (A shirt company could easily use it as a soundtrack for a commercial.) Jones' uncannily Delbert McClinton-like vocals are supported by his stinging guitar work, which blends Albert Collins and B.B. King. For fans of Jones' Oregon counterparts, Robert Cray and Curtis Salgado, and for those who enjoyed Trouble Monkey, this is an essential purchase. Anyone looking for an album of well-crafted roots music performed with soulful finesse and featuring intelligent originals should check out Love Gotcha, too.

- Thomas J. Cullen III - Thomas J. Cullen III

"Love Gotcha, Vintage Guitar February 2000"

Oh man, I love this guy. In '95, Jones put out a wonderful CD called Trouble Monkey that featured his wonderfully smokey vocals and killer guitar on a number of tunes ranging from shuffles to funk. This CD repeats the formula, and it cooks.

"Nickels and Dimes" with its great lyrics, very funky music, and monster solo by Jones, kicks things off. His biting Strat tone meshes perfectly with a vocal that calls to mind Delbert McClinton. Great stuff. And it never lets up. From the shuffle of "I Declare", to the R&B funkiness of the title cut, to the southern soul of "Ain't Nothing A Young Girl Can Do", to the slow blues of "Old News", Jones's and guitar playing set a standard any band could hold up as a goal to hit.

The band cooks all the way through. There is no let up. They're based in the Portland area, so if they pass through your way, catch 'em. Lloyd is one of the real shining lights of the R&B scene.

- JH - JH

"Trouble Monkey, Blues Revue June/July 1996"

Although Lloyd Jones has developed a considerable following in the Pacific Northwest and California the last ten years, as a consummate singer/ song writer/ guitarist/ band leader, national recognition and its attendant success has eluded him. None the less, Trouble Monkey is not only one of the finest and funkiest albums of 1995, it is one of the best albums of the 1990s. The album's intelligent and soulful mix of original blues, funk, and R&B is unlike any bluesy hybrid you're likely to hear.

Jones has been honing his craft since the 1970s and this album fulfills the promise of his earlier albums (especially the variegated Small Potatoes from 1988 on Criminal Records, which Trouble Monkey most resembles.) Congo-laden, horn-propelled tunes like "Can't Get You Off My Mind" with its shuffle-bump rhythm, the defiant "(Just About To) Bust Up A Love" and the funky, funky title cut (a metaphor for a troublesome lover) sound like mid-'70s Tower of Power and tunes like "What is Hip?" and "Get Yo' Feet Back on the Ground". The plaintive ballad "I Broke My Baby's Heart" recalls Percy Sledge, Otis Redding and James Carr.

There are three covers: Fats Domino's rollicking "Rosemary", Larry Pindar's shuffling, jazz-tinged "Old Friends" (a perfect blues "Auld Lang Syne"), and an impromptu version of Sleepy John Estes's "Drop Down Marna" with just guitar and drums.

Jones's crisp, biting, economical leads never stray far from the blues and tastefully complement each style on this remarkable album. The biggest surprise is his uncanny Delbert McClinton-like vocals. To my ears, Jones normally sounds like a cross between Robert Cray, the East Coast King of Blue-Eyed Soul, Pittsburgh's Billy Price, and the honky-tonkin' Delbert. According to the liner notes, a serious throat and ear infection and the subsequent medication to combat it, led to the roadhouse rasp in his voice. Those new to Lloyd Jones won't notice, and it detracts nothing from the album. The cookin' eight-piece backing band and guest backing vocalists Terry Evans and Ray Williams contribute mightily to Trouble Monkey's considerable musical charms. Ideally, this exciting album will propel Lloyd Jones into the national spotlight and a tour will follow. He is certainly worthy of greater recognition. Get hip to Trouble Monkey - it's one of the fresher musical trips in recent memory.

- Thomas J. Cullen III - Thomas J. Cullen III

"Trouble Monkey, Vintage Guitar 1996"

The first lesson to learn from this CD is that looks can be deceiving. Jones' picture on the cover looks like the guy next door, with a Strat across his shoulder. But the music inside is tough, but not in the shuffle style that seems to dominate blues bands these days. Jones sings like Delbert McClinton's long-lost brother, plays guitar like Robert Cray unleashed, and his band cooks.

Jones has apparently been a fixture in the Pacific Northwest where a young Cray became an admirer. It's not hard to see why. Check out the sharp, pinched guitar work on the opener, "Can't Get You Out of My Mind", or the extremely funky rhythm and lead work Jones serves up on the title cut. Jones is no one-trick pony either. Check out the classic soul of "I Broke My Baby's Heart". He offers vocals that would make Sam and Dave smile and guitar work Steve Cropper would be proud of.

My favorite cut is "Old Friends". A nice, swinging blues with a great horn arrangement, killer organ work by Glenn Holstrom, nifty guitar soloing by Jones, topped off with vocals that are as gritty as a dirt road and smooth as melting butter.

There are plenty of killer cuts. "Don't Call Me Today" features great vocals and some nice funky guitar work. Same for "Drop Down Mama".

It's truly astonishing because it was basically recorded live in the studio in just two days! Wow! This would definitely be a band to see if they came to your town. And, this is definitely a CD to find. The address for AudioQuest Music is PO Box 6040, San Clemente, California 92674. Don't waste time. Get this great CD now.

- JH - JH

"Love Gotcha, JazzTimes March 2000"

Another consummate guitarist-singer-songwriter is Lloyd Jones, who puts it all together in fine fashion on Love Gotcha (Blind Pig 5057; 42:49). A raspy-voiced soul man with an impeccable sense of time and a killer instinct on guitar, Lloyd swings and wails on driving shuffles like "I Declare" and "Treat Me Like the Dog I Am." He rocks with authority on the revved-up "Fools Gold" and the Sonny Terry-Brownie McGhee vehicle "Ride and Roll," featuring husky vocal backing from Terry Evans. Jones pays a fitting homage to funk icon James Brown on "Nickels and Dimes" and smolders on an infectious Memphis-styled groove on the title track. Guitaristically, he passes the slow blues test on "Old News" and picks out some Piedmont stylings on the unaccompanied "Big 01' Shirt." This talented journeyman has been carrying the blues torch since the early '70s and is well deserving of wider recognition. - JazzTimes


Triple Trouble (with Tommy Castro & Jimmy Hall) - Telarc, 2003

Love Gotcha - Blind Pig, 1999

Trouble Monkey - AudioQuest, 1995

Have Mercy (Live) - Burnside Records, 1993

Small Potatoes - Criminal Records, 1989

The Lloyd Jones Struggle - Criminal Records, 1987



Lloyd Jones is a consummate guitarist / singer / songwriter / arranger / performer / bandleader. One of the most original artists on the modern day blues scene, Jones is, in the words of Blues Revue, "certainly worthy of greater recognition." The release of his first recording for Blind Pig Records, Love Gotcha, should bring him the national and international acclamation he deserves.

Jones was born in Seattle into a musical family, which moved to Portland soon afterward. "I remember music was everywhere in our house growing up. My dad was playing Dixieland jazz records and trying to teach me to play trumpet when I was only five years old. My older brother played drums and showed me how. Then he took me to his band rehearsals and had me playing gigs when I was just 13. He took me to see James Brown in '64. You've got to imagine James in '64 - ouch! Then B.B. King, Buddy Guy, even Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee - all this before I was out of high school. I was underage and totally mesmerized."

Jones got deep into the blues and was the leader of one of Portland's most popular blues bands, Brown Sugar, in the early 70's. "We got to work with touring musicians in those days, like Charlie Musselwhite, George 'Harmonica' Smith, the Johnny Otis show, Big Mama Thornton and Big Walter Horton. That's how we learned, and that's really when I first picked up the guitar. A lot of times these people would stay at our homes and teach us music and history. Some of them have passed now, so I cherish those memories. S.P. Leary, who was in Muddy Waters' band and was playing drums with Big Walter at the time, leaned over to me as he was leaving town and said, 'Man, I'm getting old. You gotta keep it alive. It's a struggle sometimes, but if you love it, you keep on struggling.'"

Through the years Jones would continue to hone his craft by performing with the likes of Albert Collins, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, B.B. King, Dr. John, John Hammond, Etta James, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy, and many more music legends.

In the 80's Jones joined forces with ex-Robert Cray singer/harp player Curtis Salgado in a band called In Yo' Face. "That was one fun band! Seemed like we all had the same record collection. Curtis really pushed me as a guitar player, and when he left in '85 to join Roomful of Blues I knew it was time to play my music." Jones knew what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. The Lloyd Jones Struggle started in 1985 as a vehicle for his songwriting. "I love a good story. Most of the traditional blues stayed with a shuffle or slow blues. Being a drummer I keep hearing the rhythm of the words all broke down funky and swamp-afied; nice and relaxed but kind of turned inside out."

Jones made two recordings in the late 80's for Criminal Records: The Lloyd Jones Struggle (1987) and Small Potatoes (1989). They won over a dozen local music awards, as well as acclaim from national music publications such as Down Beat and Guitar Player, which in turn led to some extensive touring for the band on the Miller Beer Sponsorship Program. In 1993 Jones released his third album, Lloyd `Have Mercy' Jones - Live! on the Burnside Records label.

In 1995 Lloyd Jones recorded a highly acclaimed album for the Audio Quest label, entitled Trouble Monkey. Blues Revue named it, "not only one of the best albums of 1995, it is one of the best albums of the 1990's," while Robert Cray called it "the best damn record I've heard in a long time!" Vintage Guitar Magazine said, "Jones offers vocals that would make Sam and Dave smile and guitar work Steve Cropper would be proud of," and referred to his affecting vocals as "gritty as a dirt road and smooth as melting butter." Lloyd's songwriting was starting to be noticed as well, with Joe Louis Walker and Gatemouth Brown covering two of his compositions.

Jones and his band have become a mainstay on the West Coast circuit, and have brought their tasteful, crowd-pleasing brand of music from New Orleans to Canada to the Caribbean, where Delbert McClinton witnessed a performance and remarked, "When I heard Lloyd Jones live for the first time in January 1999, it was like exhaling after holding my breath for fifteen years." It was one such typically memorable set at the Santa Cruz Blues Festival that led to Jones' signing by Blind Pig Records.

Jones describes his soulful and intelligent fusion of funk, blues, and R&B as "storytelling with a Memphis groove." His latest CD, Love Gotcha, presents Lloyd's writing at its trenchant best. His songs have the quality that makes them sound as if they have been around as blues standards for years or they seem to have fallen out of some time warp from the golden days of R&B. His approach to the guitar is both economical and rhythmically sophisticated, with a style that can be as delicate as it is devastating. And Jones' accomplished guitar and vocal work are complemented throughout the recording by some of the funkiest horn-rhythm-organ arr