Paul Jones
"Starting All over Again "
Collectors Choice

One More Time Deja Vu (06/04/09)
Blues Wax 6
Reader Rating 6

Paul Jones sang on Manfred Mann's British Invasion hit "Do Wah Diddy," plus he recorded nineteen albums as a part-time Bluesman. Jones has also been an actor and radio host. He returns on the reissue label Collectors' Choice for their first-ever new music release. Jones is produced by Carla Olson and this disc is loaded with top-shelf musicians: Eric Clapton graces two tracks on a cover of Mel and Tim's "Starting All Over Again" and a Paul Jones original titled "Choose or Cop Out." Also on board is saxophone great Ernie Watts, and on the bonus track Earl "Kit" Carson's "Big Blue Diamonds" has Clayton Ivey on piano, where Percy Sledge somewhat shares the vocal chores with Jones.

There's interesting covers of Eric Bibb's "Gratefully Blue," Johnny Taylor's "If You Love Me (Like You Say)," and Van Morrison's "Philosopher's Stone." The two tunes with Eric Clapton aren't special, yet of those two, I particularly enjoyed "Choose or Cop Out." If you are looking forward to any solo explosions from Clapton, unfortunately you will not find it here, as perhaps Eric was employed for star power, and/or his past affiliations with Jones which date back to the 1960s.

The band does let loose on the instrumental "Alvino's Entourage," authored by the entire band. Jones plays harp, drummer Alvino Bennett lays down a real hard-edged funky groove with Jones, Andrews, and Thompson each taking a solo. The finale, "Big Blue Diamonds" (covered by dozens, including Sledge), opens with a piano introduction by Clayton Ivey, and it's all about Percy Sledge, who takes hold of the microphone that he sparingly shares with Jones. It's of particular note that the co-producers are Saul Davis and Barry Goldberg, who is currently part of the Chicago Blues Reunion with guitarist extraordinaire Harvey Mandel and Nick Gravenites of Electric Flag fame.

Unlike many aging rockers, Jones deserves credit for not trying to reinvent what he always did best, as he never strays from his Blues and R&B roots. But is this a successful return recording? I would have to say yes. Is it a triumphant return for Jones? I'm not so sure, but just for the fact that Jones did not try to make himself sound like a debut twenty-first-century artist, I'd answer yes and would look forward to a follow up to Starting All Over Again one more time!

Bob Putignano: