I’ve seen Laurence Jones frequently over the years. I can vividly recall watching the young lad open for Kenny Wayne Shepherd and proclaiming to everyone that he was the future of the blues.

I also remember a time when he wasn’t following that path. He ventured to America and produced what can be described as a pop record. You reviewed it because you’re a fan and tried to put yourself in his shoes. Maybe you’d want to experiment too. After all, doing the same thing for years can become monotonous, can’t it? Let’s be honest.

Then, a couple of years ago, he made a comeback. He returned to the blues, so to speak. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform a couple of times last year, and unmistakably, he had rekindled his fire.

Last year’s “Destination Unknown” album came close to capturing the essence of what I had witnessed, both when he opened for Status Quo and, more notably, in a small club in Worcester one Saturday night in the spring of 2022.

And now, we have “Bad Luck And The Blues,” where everything you ever thought Laurence Jones was capable of is distilled into these 10 songs.

Laurence himself explains, “I started my career in a power trio and gradually moved away from that. Going back to those roots was an itch I’d wanted to scratch for ages.” Jones further elaborates, “Two of my biggest heroes were Gary Moore and Jimi Hendrix, and that’s the direction I wanted to go in, along with some more contemporary influences like Queens of The Stone Age, Jack White, and Royal Blood. My main point of reference on this album was Robin Trower. I had been a fan for years, but I used lockdown to immerse myself in his playing style and the tone he used.”

All of that is relevant and right, but you can sum it up in two words if you like: “Power Trio.”

There’s nothing quite like a power trio, and Jones, along with Jack Alexander Timmis and Ash Sheehan (who has collaborated with diverse artists such as Glenn Hughes, Tony Iommi, and The Twang), have stripped away anything extraneous, eliminating the excess and delivering a bluesy hard rock record.

From the moment the title track hits, that’s what you get. It evokes bands like Mountain, offering a fuzzy crunch. Chris Sheldon (known around here for his work with Therapy? and 3 Colours Red, never mind others) has given it a raw quality. It is sonically sensational.

Then there’s “I’m Gone.” The reason I didn’t review this until after its release is this song. After one listen to Jones’ solo about three weeks ago, I concluded it was the best thing he had ever done. Such hyperbole needs validation, so you give it some time. The surprising part is that it still stands as the best song he’s ever produced.

It’s also personal. “Lonely Road,” inspired by his battles with Crohn’s Disease, is recorded live in the studio, yet you couldn’t tell because of the energy it exudes. “Don’t You Leave Me This Way” fulfils the “Trower” epithet, classic yet timeless, while “Lost And Broken” relies on a Sheehan drumbeat, arguably one of his dirtiest grooves, especially on “Stuck In The Night.” It’s pure hard rock but not entirely pure when you think about it.

Jones’ singing has notably improved over the years. His voice sounds fantastic on tracks like “Take Control,” and the riffs are as thick as molasses on “Out In The Distance.” It’s not an exaggeration to say that it could fit seamlessly into any point in the last 60 years.

This rings true for the rest of the album too. As he grooves a bit on “Woman,” there’s a moment when the drums kick in, and you can almost hear him smile.

There are no ballads on the album, and that’s to its credit. Scanning the tracklist, I assumed “You’re Not Alone” would conclude the album with one, but no, it’s a rousing Hendrix-esque romp. In a way, that’s what makes “Bad Luck And The Blues” so brilliant. Anything that didn’t align with the artistic vision wasn’t needed. This album is laser-guided, fully focused, and, I’d wager, exactly what Jones intended it to be.

It’s his best record by far, and it’s no luck. Neither good nor bad.

Rating: 9.5/10

More From Author


Popular Posts

Latest Gig Reviews

Latest Music Reviews


Band Of The Day