Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Midnight Memphis Sun reviewed by Steve Jones

Midnight Memphis Sun
JW Jones
Ruf Records
12 tracks

I had heard a few cuts from this CD on XM radio and was happy to see this arrive in the mail to review.  Jones is a bright, young bluesman from Canada who records on the German Ruf Record label.  Recorded at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis and JDub’s House in Ottawa, the CD is a bouncy and fun ride that features Charlie Musselwhite and Hubert Sumlin along with Jones’ stellar guitar and vocals.

The tune that first caught my attention on the radio was “Kissin’ in Memphis”, a bright and sprightly original number with a nice tune, some cool guitar solos and Mr. Musselwhite filling in perfectly on harp.  Charlie also appears on the Sonny Terrie and Brownie McGhee tune “Burnt Child” and Jimmy Reed’s “I Don’t Go For That”.  The former sounds like it came right out the Delta with wicked harp licks and a down home vocal sound where the latter offers up some greased up Chicago style hot licks and blowing.

The eminent Hubert Sumlin also appears on a trio of original Jones songs.  “Born Operator” showcases some beautifully traded off sets of licks between Sumlin and Jones.  They go sans singing on the instrumental cut “Howlin’ With Hubert”, again trading off mean licks between the old and new guard.  The CD closes with “Games”, where the majority of the midsection of the track gives us the two doing what they do best on the guitar.

The CD offers up mostly new songs, but the other two covers are quite fun.  Lowell Fulson’s “Love Grows Cold” and fellow Canadian Bryan Adams’ “Cuts Like a Knife” get treated to well done covers by Jones.  Fulson’s cover track is really jumping and the Bryan Adams cover jacks up the tempo and sound in an original manner.  The other original tracks vary up and down in tempo and give us a good look at this young artist and what he can do.  The vocals are clean and cool, the guitar is never overstated or overblown.  JW is a talented young man who has produced a fine CD here.  This is really one to go out and buy and add to your collection soon!

Reviewed by Steve Jones

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