JW-Jones Blues Band, My Kind of Evil (Northern Blues, 2004)

Recipe for the blues: Take one loud and aggressive, raunchy guitar player, stir in a rock solid rhythm section, add a dash of special guest players and singers, sprinkle with horns, and mix well (preferably by a producer like Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds). Let them cook through a selection of originals and a few well chosen covers. Remove the lid (don't worry if you forget this part. . . they'll prob'ly blow it right off) and let simmer for a few days. . . just so you get to know it. Serve hot!

That's the meal set up on the JW-Jones Blues Band's new CD. My Kind of Evil is produced by that sizzling harp player Kim Wilson, and the very first thing you notice is the sound of JW-Jones's guitar. It's raw, and loud, pushy, overpowering, just the way I like it. Sure, on a couple of tracks he shows a bit more self control. . . but who needs self control anyway? It's a blues album! The band is comprised of Nathan Morris on bass (acoustic and electric), Bill Brennan on drums and Geoff Daye on keyboards. And they provide a sympathetic and strong foundation. The Wind Chill Factor Horns do their duty propelling things along with three saxes and a trumpet. Kim Wilson joins on vocals on a couple of tracks, and harp solos too. Canadian blues-rocker Colin James takes lead vocals on two tracks.

The songs are fairly standard blues structures, with lyrics that essentially carry on from the titles. Think about them: "Shake That Mess," "Ain't Gonna Lie," "Cheating Woman." You get the idea. The covers include "Blue Monday," a Fats Domino tune, and Johnny Otis's "What You Do To Me." No surprises, but heck, who wants surprises on a blues album that follows the recipe? As long as the band rocks and the soloists sizzle, that's pretty much what you're looking for, isn't it?

My Kind of Evil has been getting steady play in the car, with the top down and the windows rolled down, as I drive along Highway 6, headin' towards Caledonia! And that, my friends, is what I want in a blues album! Well done, JW!

[David Kidney]

The JW-Jones Blues Band has a Web site here.