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4 stars Keeping Up was Jonesy's second of 3 albums and is probably their most consistent from what I've heard. The group were presumably Welsh in origin and along with a group called Quicksand who were definitely Welsh and the Belfast prog rock band Fruupp were the best on the progressively aimed Dawn label. The group lost original bass guitarist Dave Paull and drummer Jim Payne and on Keeping Up replaced them with the much more dexterous Plug Thomas on drums and Gypsy Jones (brother of group leader John Evan Jones) on bass/lead vocals/recorders. Also for this album trumpet player Alan Bown ex of his own group was added to the group. Keyboardist Jamie Kaleth and guitarist John Evan Jones supplied the material for what is a pro soldier/anti war concept album that is for the most part very successful in conveying the despair of Northern Ireland at the beginning of its worst period also the futility of any war with references to World War 1 ("Sunset And Evening Star") and World War 2 (obviously a lot of lyrics here were drawn from experiences related to this and both world wars). Thankfully, where you may expect an abrasive and harsh sound the music is top class melodic progressive pop rock heavily reliant on Kaleth's waves and waves of mellotron. The vocals are for the most part very melodic and pleasant with the lead voice augmented by some nice harmonies. The album opens strongly with "Masquerade" and all of Side One is Excellent. "Sunset And Evening Star" is a sombre/heartbreakingly sad track with a lovely melody reminiscent of Spring. Side Two is taken up by some unfortunate avant garde influences at the outset which don't damage this album severely, but do go on a bit long. The closing tracks "Song" and "Children" are two of the best. The former an anthem for peace with another beautiful melody and the latter a song about nuclear holocaust and what has to be done to stop it. This album will not put a smile on your face, but it is full of good melodies and fine playing. While not in the same league as Czar or Asgard- this is still a fine album and strongly recommended for fans of gentle mellotron based progressive rock.
Report this review (#38977)
Posted Saturday, July 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second work released in 1973 "Keeping Up".The rose flower binds and the dismissed jacket is impressive. The use of bold Merotoron that exceeds the former work leads the sound influenced by KING CRIMSON to completion. It is extremely variegated music. It is a masterpiece that improves the perfection as a progressive rock at a dash.
Report this review (#60739)
Posted Sunday, December 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars This second album by the obscure Jonesy is a veritable mellotron strings fest, augmented with real brass. Although comparisons to early King Crimson have some validity, I would place them somewhere between KC and the proto prog group Spring in their orientation.

At times Jonesy gets a little out there into the world of improv, such as on "Critique (With Exceptions)", but they can also get very song oriented as in the lovely "Sunset and Evening Star", and set moods deftly, as in "Preview". All these facets are best combined on the album closer "Children", which features mellotron played at a relatively fast clip, rocking vocal sections very reminiscent of the aforementioned Spring, pastoral winds, and an impressive buildup with various degrees of experimentation.

If you are totally into beautiful mellotron, this is pretty highly recommended, as long as you realize that Jonesy was at their best when simply keeping up with what was fashionable 3 or 4 years earlier. 3.5 stars, rounded down for that reason.

Report this review (#140801)
Posted Thursday, September 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Jonesy second album showed some changes when compared to their debut album. Not only did the have a complete new rhythm section, but the biggest change would be the addition of trumpet and flugelhorn player Alan Bown. With him a more jazzy sound was introduced to the band. This can be heard for instance on Preview, which is trumpet and keyboards only. Or the second part of Questions and Answer, which is a sort of a jazzy jamsession. But the best example is the free-jazz of Critique (with exceptions). This sounds very much like the electric period of Miles Davis (Bitches Brew for instance). But there are also songs which a more in the "old" style, such as the brilliant Masquerade. Or the beautiful ballad Sunset and Evening Star, with a very tasty mellotron. The album closer, Children, brings both worlds together. This is full blown progressive rock. So Jonesy really progressed on this album, bringing new elements to their music.
Report this review (#156785)
Posted Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Money
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Jonesy is one of the most overlooked and underrated progressive rock bands to come out of the early 70s. Eclectic is the best word to describe this band's style. This CD features a lot of upfront Mellotron ala King Crimson, as well as clever pop passages backed by a string quartet in a Beatles style. Add to that some bluesy hippie funk that recalls Buddy Miles and Edgar Winter, as well as some Miles Davis influenced psychedelic jazz and lots of high speed rock guitar solos played without effects that recall Wishbone Ash or early Yes.

As usual the weak point with Jonsey is the vocals. They're not particularly bad, but not great which is a dissapointment because their instrumental passages rate them up there with the greats of early 70s rock. To their credit their lyrics seem to be very urgent and extremely heartfelt. Unfortunately this CD did not come with a lyric sheet, but it sounds like the lyrics deal with the pain of war or violent social unrest. One is left with the feeling that the members of this band are not speaking in an abstract sense, but instead are dealing with these issues on a very personal level.

I don't think that the members of Jonesy ever attended art school, instead they come across as unpretentious working class types who probably didn't take a fancy to some of progressive rock's more excessive displays.

The CD I own contains some very nice bonus tracks. The song Can You Get that Together starts off as a high speed jazz fusion romp with great trumpet and guitar solos and then abruptly merges into Waltz for Yesterday, a well-written Beatles style ballad with a long repeating chorus and nice string arrangements. Know Who Your Friends Are is a Wishbone Ash style rocker with an odd middle section that could have come from a 60s exotic lounge record.

I always get the impression that things were never easy for the members of Jonesy, maybe some day they will get the recognition they deserve.

Report this review (#159786)
Posted Friday, January 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This was a pleasant surprise to say the least. I was expecting more of a Proto-Prog style, and you get that flavour with the vocals and mellotron but man these guys were adventerous and very talented. Lots of strings and mellotron while Alan Brown adds some excellent flugelhorn and trumpet. The bass is really upfront too which I like.

"Masquerade" opens with strings then we hear glass breaking as drums and guitar come charging in. Nice bass lines too as they kick into gear with strings. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes, mellotron follows. It calms right down 3 minutes in then reserved vocals join in. Horns take the vocals place as mellotron floods in. Vocals return. It kicks back in after 4 1/2 minutes. "Sunset And Evening Star" opens with mellotron followed by drums and a fuller sound before a minute. Vocals come in as it settles. Contrasts continue. A beautiful track. "Preview" is a 2 minute tune with horns, piano, strings then vocals. "Questions And Answers" is uptempo with piano then vocals as chunky bass joins in as it gets fuller. Piano only to follow then mellotron joins in followed by vocals and a fuller sound. Check out the mellotron 3 minutes in. Percussion and horns late. I like the guitar too.

"Critique (With Exceptions)" features these almost spoken words that do get theatrical. The music comes in around 3 minutes and we get a very Miles Davis flavoured section here as trumpet, bass and other sounds come and go. Very cool. Check out the guitar before 8 minutes, he eventually starts to rip it up big time. Nice. "Duet" is less than a minute of horns and acoustic guitar. "Song" opens with piano and vocals as mellotron joins in. It gets fuller with strings and drums. Guitar after 2 1/2 minutes solos tastefully. "Children" is the 9 minute closing track. It opens with flute before kicking in before 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound with vocals, horns and mellotron standing out. Check out the strings 4 minutes in and the mellotron that follows. It kicks back in with some killer bass. Vocals and mellotron 7 minutes in.

What an album ! It's one of those gems that i find once in a while that make the search all worthwhile. A must have.

Report this review (#258278)
Posted Monday, December 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Jonesy´s second work was released less than an year after their first, but it represented a total shift from style. And line up too. And the most important was the inclusion of Alan Bown on trumpet and flugelhorn. Guitarrist John Evan Jones and keyboardist were the only ones left from the outfit that recorded No Alternative a few months before, now with Jones brother Trevor `Gypsy` joining back on bass and recruiting new drummer Plug Thomas. The result was so different they might as well have changed their name! Instead of the fairly common hard rock/heavy prog of No Alternative, they now have a quite eclectic colletion of songs that were much more progressive, with some interesting jazz, funk and psychodelic leanings. You have to admire their nerve to make such movement.

Although I can hardly say this album is a masterpiece or essential, it is still very good. Far from perfect, as long as songwriting is concerned, the tunes were nevertheless quite bold and inventive. Those new experiments produced some fine songs (masquerade, Questions And Answers) that mixed wah wah guitars, funky bass, mellotron waves, Miles Davies-like trumpet and complex vocal harmonies. Other tracks were less succesful, like the long (9 minute), weird (and annoying) Critique. The beautiful instrumental Preview is just too short, a real shame. Children is an interesting epic ballad with an odd middle part and has its moments of greatness. Song and Sunshine And Evening Star sound good, but a bit unfinished. Production here is much better than their debut. Even the vocals are much superior here .

Keeping Up was a good surprise and showed that this group had skillful players, the songwriting was getting better and they were on the way to create a quite unique music. I´m really curious about their third album. Rating: with all its faults, a very good (transitional) album: 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#268020)
Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Inner tensions among Jonesy's leader John Evan-Jones and the rest of the band continued, resulting the departure of Jim Payne and David Paull, who went on to play with Ken Hensel.Their replacements were Richard "Plug" Thomas and Nicholas Greenwood.Meanwhile John asked his brother Trevor "Gypsy" Jones to consider rejoining the group, as it eventually happened.Even so Greenwood's stint with Jonesy was brief and a fresh reformation included Alan Bown on trumpet and percussion.With Ray Russell (future guitarist of Chopyn) helping out on string arrangements Jonesy recorded their second album ''Keeping up...'' at Escape Studios in March 1973, released the same year on Dawn Records.

Members abandonded the band, but the return of Gypsy Jones helped Jonesy retain the inspiration of the debut, combining elements from Jazz, Orchestral and Pop Music into an attractive progressive amalgam, which is maybe not groundbreaking but comes as warmly recommended.The first few pieces with the dominant Mellotron, the well-crafted vocals, the smooth string/piano lines and the mix of calm and more passionate material showcase why Jonesy were fairly compared to KING CRIMSON.Discreet psychedelic touches, jazzy guitar and trumpets and symphonic Mellotron offer a consistent blend of different influences.The long and rather experimental ''Critique'' comes as a dissapointment, showing Jonesy in a relaxed mood, flirting with Lounge Jazz, theater acoustics and hypnotic, Psychedelic Rock, but things will get back in shape with ''Children'', another long but interesting piece of early-70's Prog Rock with KING CRIMSON vibes and light Horn Rock touches: Dreamy melodies, strong psychedelic guitars, omnipresent Mellotron and dramatic atmospheres.Great cut.

A typical example of diverse and well-executed British Prog of the 70's.Orchestral/jazzy Prog with a wide spectrum of different images.Warmly recommended.

Report this review (#1159380)
Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Whilst their first album showed great promise and vision, this second album by Jonesy really allowed them to blossom. From the sort of humble origins, as dsiplayed through their crude yet impressive sound on "No alternative", to this, fully fledged progressive album, the steps taken is something to be marvelled.

The omnipresent mellotron gives me associations to King Crimson and Spring but whilst "No alternative" seemed to rely more on the sounds of others, this album is a far more personal affair. I would not claim that "No alternative" boasted overly complex arrangements, relying more on the hard rock side of prog. That notion, however, is eradicated on "Keeping up". Sure, there are hard rock passages on here aswell but the overall complexity and diversity is more to the fore, making "Keeping up" a much more entertaining affair. The mellotron is also augmented by brass and strings this time around, which also adds to the emotive side of the music. It is dreamy, yet not sleepy. All in all things fall into their places and the canvas is filled with the most delicious colours.

The most complex piece on the album is "Critique (with exceptions)" which is avant-garde, free-form and jazzy. The trumpet of Bown sounds as though they'd invited Miles Davis to play some spooky, off beat passages. I think that this track is interesting as an experiment and gives prrof to the fact that Jonesy was as elaborate, inventive, daring and unpredictable as any of the greats.

The other tracks are less complex but by no means inferior. I think, actually, on the contrary. From the opening "Masquerade", to the ever so beautiful and emotive "Sunset and evening star" and onward "Keeping up" is filled with great music. Inventive, bustling with ideas and visions. The jewel in the crown is the last track, the most epic and to my taste the most fully realized piece of music: "Children". The presence of brass, stabbing and hitting with extreme precision, and the lyrics in conjunction with the shifting sections of music means that this track is one of almost perfect progressive pedigree.

"Keeping up" is Jonesy's best album, as far as I am concerned. It may be that they never broke any new boundaries or travelled to far into the musical horizon but they made albums of great progressive music. Some critic once wrote that Jonesy was the best progressive band you've never heard and that is true enough. Their music, especially on "Keeping up", is just as great as other bands of the era and anyone with an interest in the origins of prog would do well to listen to them.

Report this review (#1265590)
Posted Monday, September 1, 2014 | Review Permalink

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