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Bobby Jonz (01/02/36 , 07/21/20) RIP

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Bobby Jonz at City Lights, Las Vegas 18 April 2016

Bobby Jonz at City Lights, Las Vegas 18 April 2016

I was sad to hear of the death of Bobby Jonz aka Bobby Jones, who died of Covid 19 on Monday 21 July 2020 aged 86. I first saw Bobby in Lee’s Unleaded, Chicago on 21 June 2005. I arranged to interview him for “In The Basement” a couple of days later, but unfortunately he had to leave the city due to a Family Bereavement, so the interview was cancelled. The next time I saw Bobby performing was at City Lights in Las Vegas on his Blues Jam Night 18 April 2016, which I attended with friends Nick Cobban, John Howard & Alan Lloyd.

Bobby was really known as an interpreter of other people’s songs but whilst that maybe true, I feel that Bobby was a real journey man with a soulful voice, very much underrated, who managed to suprise everybody with his honest performances. Born in Farmerville, Louisiana a small town 24 miles northwest of Monroe in 1936. Bobby’s journey started with the Blues in 1959 when he moved to Chicago under his real name of Bobby Jones. Bobby got his first break working at Peppers Lounge, he replaced Junior Wells in The Four Aces band with Dave & Louis Myers. Bobby’s next band was with Barry Goldberg, Harvey Mandel, Mike Bloomfield, Charlie
Musselwhite, The album “Chicago Blues Union” collects recordings from
1964/65 he recorded with them. He is also featured on “Chicago Anthology
- Recorded Live At Big John’s, Chicago
“. Bobby recorded a 45 for Veejay
around this time, 1965, “A Certain Feeling” written by Barry Goldberg
and “Sugar Baby” written by Andre Williams & Barry Goldberg. Morey
Alexander who was his mentor at the time produced the single.
Heikki Suosalo mentions in his excellent overview of Bobby Jones’ career in Soul Express, that “Sugar Baby”/ “In My Lonely Bedroom” was his first single on an obscure record label owned by Morey Alexander. Bobby left Barry Goldberg in 1966 and next appeared on USA records with Bill Lasley Producing “Check Me Out”/”Beware Stranger” with The Para-monts Girls who were three sisters. “Beware Stranger” being the better side, both tracks
can be found on “USA Records Soul Story” on FUEL cd 302 061 952.

Various other 45’s followed but it was 1972 when his first album appeared “Talkin’ ‘Bout Jones” on the Toya label. Syl Johnson and Mighty Joe Young played on this album. A couple of singles from this album did well in Florida, Bobby was to move to Florida for a time, working all over the State. Bobby changed his name in 1982 to Bobby Jonz to avoid confusion over the Gospel singer Bobby Jones. Bobby was to become part of the Chittlin’ Circuit, a Southern Soul singer and got underway with an album, Bobby Jonz “Thought You Were Loving Me” on Expansion in 1982.
More singles followed through the 80s and Bobby moved to California in 1986. Johnny Vincent enters the story in 1995, releasing my favourite album of Bobby’s, on Johnny’s Ace Label of Mississippi. Recorded in Jackson MS, “I’m In The Mood For Love” which featured the superb “Innocent Til Proven Guilty”, the self written “In The Mood For Love” a big hit on the Beach Music Scene is another goodie. There is real quality on this album, Harrison Galloway & Norman Williams did the arrangements with Harrison arranging the Horns. Jewel Bass is on background vocals.

Harrison Callaway & Dave Thomas April 1994

Harrison Callaway & Dave Thomas April 1994

Another great album followed, “This Is Bobby Jonz Country” followed in 1998 on Johnny Vincent’s other label Avanti, this album, which shows Bobby’s love of Country music, which started when he was growing up. I love the opening song “Snap Your Fingers” and “Tips of My Fingers”. The album was arranged by Harrison Galloway who also played keyboards, Jewel Bass on backing vocals again.

“Your Freak Is Here” came next in 1999, on Big Bidness a subsidiary of Mardi Gras Records of New Orleans after Bobby had hooked
up with Senator Jones. Harrison Galloway again arranged the album with a contribution from Willie Clayton on “Too Pooped To Pop”. Jewel Bass was the backing singer again on this album.

Bobby Jones at Lees Unleaded 21 June 2005

Bobby Jones at Lees Unleaded 21 June 2005

“Lee Shot Stole My Freak” followed in 2002, a low budget album on his own Red Dot label. Bobby reverted to using Jones on his 2008 release, Bobby Jones “Super Soul Club Hits”.

Bobby Jones & The Mannish Blues Band “Comin’ Back Hard” followed in 2009 on Delta Groove Music which is a very good blues album with a great line-up of talent, Kirk Fletcher, Kid Ramos, Junior Watson, Lynwood Slim & Fred Kaplan.

Bobby’s involvement with the Mannish Blues Band started on their 2007 “Big Plans” album where he sang 2 songs “Mary Jane” / “California Blues”. On the 2008 Mannish Boys album “Lowdown Feelin’” he sang on 7 of the 17 songs on the album. On the 2010 Mannish Boys “Shake For Me”, Bobby sang vocals on 7 of the 15 songs.

Bobby Jonz & Band at City Lights, Las Vegas

Bobby Jonz & Band at City Lights, Las Vegas

Bobby next album in 2011 “You Ain’t Got No Proof” saw Bobby return to Southern Soul after his Blues jaunts with the Mannish Boys, Bobby with writers/producers Pete Peterson, Eric Smith and Mist Lundy coming up with an ok album.

Bobby’s last album in 2014 “Sings To Las Vegas” on Macrolbmusic, is a 8 track album of standards and without doubt not Southern Soul.

Bobby Jones at Lees Unleaded Chicago, 21 June 2005

Bobby Jones at Lees Unleaded Chicago, 21 June 2005

Sadly I never got to interview him, but we did talk for about 20 minutes in las Vegas. R.I.P. Bobby.

Bobby Jonz & Dave Thomas

Bobby Jonz & Dave Thomas

Text & all Pictures Dave Thomas

Acknowledgments & Thanks to Heikki Suosalo: Presenting Bobby Jonz :
Soul Express 2/2004

Blackpool International Soul Festival

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

Il fallait s’en douter le festival prévu en Juin est annulé.

Mais il est, d’ores et déjà, annoncé la programmation de 2021 qui s’annonce exceptionnelle avec l’ajout de trois artistes dont Betty Harris.

Picks Of The Week

Monday, October 14th, 2019

Blackpool Soul Weekender

Saturday, March 16th, 2019

Porretta Soul Festival 2019

Monday, February 11th, 2019

Thursday 18 July
20.00 h

Sweethearts of Australia

Re:Funk feat. Pee Wee Ellis

Scott Sharrard & The Bo-Keys

Don Bryant feat. The Bo-Keys

Friday July 19
20.00

J.P. Bimeni & The Black Belts

Leon Beal with Sax Gordon and the Luca Giordano Band with Curtis Salgado

Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra

Khylah B.

Willie West

Annika Chambers

Chilly Bill Rankin & Jerry Jones

Saturday July 20
20.00h

Curtis Salgado Band

Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra

Georgia Van Etten

LaRhonda Steele

Wee Willie Walker

Wendy Moten

Tony Wilson – The Young James Brown special guest Judy Lei

Sunday July 21
20.00

The Sweethearts

Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra

Khylah B.

Willie West

Georgia Van Etten

LaRhonda Steele

Curtis Salgado

Wee Willie Walker

Chilly Bill Rankin & Jerry Jones

Wendy Moten

Tony Wilson

Booker T and The MG’s. Green Onions & Memphis Soul

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Booker T and The MG’s.
Green Onions & Memphis Soul
Par Eric Tessier

Éditions Camion Blanc

Alors que se multiplient les hagiographies consacrées aux sempiternelles figures de la soul (Brown, Redding, Charles), il est agréable de constater que certains auteurs et éditeurs s’aventurent sur des terrains plus hasardeux. C’est ainsi qu’Eric Tessier propose ce qui semble être la première biographie de Booker T & The MG’s.

Après avoir planté le décor de Memphis, ville multiraciale tristement connue pour l’assassinat de Martin Luther King, l’auteur est, bien qu’il s’en défende, obligé de faire l’historique de Stax Records et de toutes ses vicissitudes depuis sa création, de sa domination par Atlantic Records puis de son passage sous la houlette de Paramount & Gulf et Western. Fort d’une érudition pop/rock qui, hélas, laisse libre court à des digressions hors sujet (comme cette étude de la BO du film « Ces Messieurs Trop Tranquilles ») et d’une documentation essentiellement basée sur les travaux de Bob Bowman (Soulville USA et le livret qui accompagne le triple CD Time is Tight) et de Robert Gordon (Respect Yourself), Eric Tessier décortique méthodiquement chaque album dont Uptight, enregistré à Paris et qui fut pour Booker & The MG’s l’occasion de se produire au Bibelot (prestation diffusée sur La Deuxième Chaîne Couleur qui deviendra par la suite Antenne 2 dans la soirée Surprise Partie du 31/12/68).

Le concert de la tournée Stax à l’Olympia est largement romancé au point d’en oublier l’anecdote majeure – et que seuls les témoins d’alors connaissent – qui est qu’à la surprise générale le public découvrit avec stupeur que Steve Cropper était… Blanc ! Puisqu’il n’y avait pas de photos sur les pochettes des albums à l’époque. Certains épisodes sont également fictionnés comme l’assassinat d’Al Jackson et il assez surprenant de constater qu’aucun des acteurs de l’aventure Stax – que ce soit Wayne Jackson, Steve Cropper, Ben Cauley, Joe Arnold, Andrew Love, John Gary Williams et même Booker T lui-même – n’aient été rencontrés, alors que certains viennent ou venaient en Europe.

Enfin, et malgré ces réserves, cette somme de 400 pages sans aucune illustration se lirait agréablement comme une saga ancrée dans la dure réalité de son époque avec son corollaire de tension raciale si elle n’était pas parsemée d’un humour potache avec comme exemples les deux extraits suivants : « un amateur de pastiche n’est pas un alcoolique auvergnat » et « Donald Duck Dunn n’était pas en studio, peut-être était-il en train de garder Riri, Fifi et Loulou ? ».

Pour conclure, laissons à l’auteur la responsabilité de son propos lorsqu’il évoque le « Melting Pot » américain : « Gardons à l’esprit nos propres fumisteries comme ces “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” qui ornent les frontons de nos édifices publics et auxquels ne croient que ceux qui n’en bénéficieront jamais »…

Jean-Claude Morlot

Brass Construction’s Larry Payton

Friday, March 25th, 2016

Nous avons le regret de vous annoncer le décès le 21 Mars 2016 de Larry Payton qui était le batteur du groupe funk Brass Construction.
Il est en haut à gauche sur la pochette de leur premier album.

A gauche en compagnie de Chuck Brown et à droite seul en studio.

Mel Waiters 25/06/56 28/05/15 RIP

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Vick Allen’s New Video

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Floyd Taylor R.I.P.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Difficile de se faire un prénom lorsqu’on est le fils d’une des plus grandes voix de la Soul.
Malgré le mimétisme vocal et physique Floyd Taylor avait su se démarquer de son père Johnnie en développant un style personnel.
Il construisait une carrière originale même s’il empruntait des chemins similaires comme ses enregistrements pour Malaco. Très présent sur la scène sudiste il avait même enregistré un duo ( I Want It) avec Toni Green.

L’annonce de sa participation à l’édition 2014 du Festival Soul de Porretta faisait déjà frémir d’impatience les amateurs.
Hélas, cette annonce n’aura été que de courte durée puisque la nouvelle de son arrêt cardiaque la semaine dernière tomba brutalement.
Il n’avait qu’une soixantaine d’années, et décède pratiquement au même âge que son père.
Le service funéraire aura lieu Samedi 1er Mars à Chicago.

Jean-Claude Morlot

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