Artist: Laurence Jones
Album: Take Me High
Release Date: 07/22/2016
Laurence Jones, a young Turk of UK guitar with strong ability and a sure-footed understanding of blues-rock, is back with his fourth album. Partnered as usual with innovative and experienced bassist Roger Inniss, Jones’ last release, What’s It Gonna Be, was a finely crafted offering that went over well across Europe. Take Me High clearly aims to replicate that popularity and, for the most part, succeeds admirably.
Jones is one of those young guitar whiz kids, a near prodigy with abilities that only seem to blossom further with each successive release. Like most artists under the German Ruf Records label (think Ana Popovic, Samantha Fish, etc.), he is firmly rooted in the thumping, driving rock end of the blues spectrum.
On this ten tracker, he’s joined at times by one of the UK’s well acknowledged blues harp masters, Paul Jones (no relation), the former frontman and singer with ’60s pop nobility, Manfred Mann.
In addition to Paul Jones’ contribution, the production here is top quality, as you’d expect from any album helmed by the legendary Mike Vernon, whose earlier work has included John Mayall and almost everyone of note over the past four decades or so. Throughout, Vernon brings experience, confidence and studio genius to the project.
Beyond having Vernon at the knobs, Laurence Jones shows himself to be a fine songwriter despite his youth, and his fretwork is often genuinely gripping, arresting and forceful. When he trades licks with Paul Jones on “The Price I Pay,” the interplay lifts what could have easily been a bit of a clunker of a track into something special, and the album then begins to soar, quickly becoming a rather strong release.
Vernon says his aim was to produce an album that truly reflected Laurence Jones and his band as an electrifying and original live act. He certainly accomplished that goal. A quality release from a guy who is clearly going places fast.
– Iain Patience