Updating the blues for the 21st century is not an easy matter. Boo Boo Davis has managed it. With this release on Black & Tan Records, Billy Jones has managed it too. Whilst Boo Boo Davis is a 100% blues man, Billy Jones is more urban soul. Think Bobby Womack with Curtis Mayfield's social conscience and you are getting close.
Opening with "Here With You", he quickly establishes his soul credentials. "Pull My 44" is a more conventional blues number driven along by shuffling drum beats and some effective, edgy guitar. If you feel the urge for a quality love song then you need look no further than "The Rumor". An age old theme perhaps, but handled with class. Standout track on this CD is his anthemic stance against drugs, "Crystal". Driven by the kind of guitar riff that would make any heavy rock guitarist proud, he preaches against the life destroying effects of drug abuse. The title track, "My Hometown", also reinforces that anti drug message. Ending on the mesmeric "Bluez Comes Callin'", he leaves us wanting more.
It is not a criticism to say that Billy Jones sings about the same things as Curtis Mayfield did in the seventies. It is more of a criticism of society that things have not improved as the decades have passed. Perhaps the most important thing to note is that his sound is more acceptable to modern ears and maybe that will get more people to listen to his message. Even if you don't want to listen to the message, Billy Jones has a voice that will enchant you. This is a fine, soulful album that can be safely recommended. Available online from Black & Tan Records.