Dennis Jones sometimes swings and bops the blues with a vigor that's atypical for its flair and booty-shakin' funk (Brand New Day, Try Not to Lie). At those times, I'm reminded a bit of what Todd Cochran, then known as 'Bayete', did with the first completely unknown but killer Automatic Man disc, with Pat Thrall kickin' the crap out of the rock cliché, sounding like Hendrix at a disco. The pertinant cuts in Pleasure & Pain aren't quite like that, but they carry an irresistable groove that twists its roots until they shimmy and shake.
The guy also possesses a primal blues chunka-chunka dragline, as in Kill the Pain, a cut swimming in Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, and Johnny Winter. This, however, ain't the new guitar-hero disc everyone seems to be wishing it were, and it's too bad the crits and A&R cats are so insistent on that gig, 'cause they're missing the fact that Jones is crafting solid bluesrock. His solos are good sidelines but they aren't Stevie Ray by any means, more like what Jon Butcher gets to when he's on it, and this attempt to force every fretbender into someone else's legacy is too often more damaging than helpful.
In fact, the Jon Butcher comparison is not a bad one. Blue Over You isn't far removed from Butcher at his best—tuneful, just the right dose of hooks, a great centered lead line, etc. Overall, there's something missing in Pleasure & Pain, though, and I strongly suspect it's a rhythm guitarist or keyboardist for Jones to play off. I don't hear him opening up in this trio format, not like he should. In fact, I'm not convinced his drummer and bass player are what he deserves either, and some of the tempos need to be doubled to let a few of the cuts catch up to themselves. In short, this guy has yet to come fully into his powers.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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