The name Al Jones brings to mind several albums he cut with partner Frank Necessary in the 1980s. Jones was a major influence on the traditional bluegrass scene in the Washington, D.C., area starting in the 1960s, having performed with Earl Taylor’s Stony Mountain Boys. Now at 81, Jones can still hit the high notes he’s best known for.
His music is steeped in traditional bluegrass, and he lays it out with tunes from Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, Hylo Brown, and Taylor. His Spruce Mountain Boys for this project are familiar folks at the Patuxent Music studios; including Tom Mindte (mandolin), Russ Hooper (resonator guitar), Patrick McAvinue (fiddle), Tom Neal (banjo), and Jerry Steinberg (bass). The project kicks off with a Taylor chestnut “Calling Your Name” and continues with such favorites as “Homesick,” “Love And Wealth,” “Iron Curtain,” and “This World Is Not My Home.” Jones also contributed three originals, “Nancy,” “I Can Never Shed Another Tear My Darling,” and “My Friend Frank” (a tribute to his late partner).
Like the CD title says, this is hard-core bluegrass and the studio band, themselves veterans of the DC/Baltimore bluegrass scene, provide the traditional backing and sound that Jones loves so well. He quips, “I ain’t playin’ no modern music.” It’s a statement that lets the listener know what they are in for, and what Al Jones still has the power and soul to do. (Patuxent Music, P.O. Box 572, Rockville, MD 20848, www.pxrec.com.)BF