Long after their peers packed up their instruments and headed north, guitarist Big Jack Johnson, drummer Sam Carr, and keyboardist-harp player Frank Frost have remained firmly entrenched in the Mississippi Delta both in music and in life. This rollicking 1979 session was their first as the Jelly Roll Kings, but the telepathic interplay between the three had existed for decades.
Their sound hearkens back to the untamed blues of Sun Records' early years as they channel everything from boogie-woogie to country blues through their pawn shop amps. What comes out of those amps is crude, naked juke-joint blues. Their impassioned version of Big Jay McNeely's "There's Something on Your Mind" sets the standard. With Carr's steady beat providing the momentum, Jackson's repeating guitar lines crackle, and his urgent Guitar Slim-styled vocals rise to meet the swirling notes of Frost's Farfisa organ. It's a great song on a highly recommended album. --Ken Hohman