Laurence Jones, What’s It Gonna Be. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

There is no stopping Laurence Jones, you could try, by all means if it pleases you to put obstacles in the way of sheer talent then so be it. However, be warned, like a beautifully preserved early 20th Century train going at full speed and with a driver so well versed in how his machine works and what it is capable of, those obstacles will be surely smashed to smithereens, the splinters flying into the detractor’s own pathway; for nothing except Laurence Jones can get in the way of this train.

Like the allusion the steam train hurtling through the British countryside, breaking records and yet being so comfortable that each step of the journey is a pleasure doubled, Laurence Jones latest album is a case of all and not one iota of nothing spared. What’s It Gonna Be, might be a silly question but the query stands regardless, for whilst the young and outrageously talented artist been called the saviour of British Blues, the question is tantalising, what is it going to be, how much can the ears and soul take before it asks with sorrow in its heart, “Please let me take it all in, let me just for a second see the sight ahead” and then with the smile broadening adds, “Full steam ahead and let’s give the heart more thrills.”

To produce one album of such quality is perhaps in this day and age not such a rarity, yet it keeps on happening and following in the footsteps of such noted modern Blues geniuses such as Joe Bonamassa and the intensely brilliant Joanne Shaw Taylor, it really is no surprise, or at least it shouldn’t be.

By the end of the album, a set of songs that culminates in the tremendous Stop Moving The House, the journey has flown by at such speed that the driver is asked gently to explain his actions and be tested for anything that would enhance his driving ability, in time honoured fashion of the innocent, he only has to point at Laurence Jones packing his guitar away and all is forgiven.

Songs such as Evil, Touch The Moonlight, the exceptional Don’t Look Back, which features the ever impressive Sandi Thom, Good Morning Blues and the equally hot Can’t Get Enough, a track that has the wonderfully adept and scintillating playing of Dana Fuchs attached to it, all make What’s It Gonna Be the Blues album of the year so far.

The engine is hot, the steel is hungry, steaming and full of passion; it also wants to be let loose once more, for some trains, some journeys, are worth repeating over and over again.

Ian D. Hall