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Jonesy - No Alternative CD (album) cover

NO ALTERNATIVE

Jonesy

 

Heavy Prog

3.35 | 52 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Jonesy’s first album has been referred to as reminiscent of early King Crimson, something band leader John Evans-Jones has readily acknowledged. Having ‘Islands’ engineer Andy Hendrikson fill the same role on this record probably didn’t hurt either. But the first track sounds more like early Kansas to me, only with mellotron replacing Steinhardt’s violin and Jones’ lead guitar being a bit harsher than anything I ever heard out of Livgren.

Like Kansa, the band opens with a rocker but quickly shows their progressive side with the more restrained and complex “Heaven” as the second track on the album. This one sounds more like a mellow ELP song, but again in the manner or Kansas the theme is sort of spiritual with Jones relating the tale of a man entering the pearly gates who is relieved to discover from the gatekeeper that he will be admitted. Jones offers up fairly simple but striking guitar work amid Jimmy Kaleth’s piano and mellotron. This is a subdued song but one that demonstrates the band’s range and appreciation of symphonic-leaning rock.

“Mind of the Century” shows the unevenness of the band though, as it is a fairly unexceptional rock number with little to distinguish it besides the thudding drum/bass line that persists throughout.

The King Crimson label comes from tracks like “1958” and “Pollution” with their jazz-leaning timing and complex, dissonant notes that are probably impressive to other musicians but not as approachable for the casual listener. “Pollution” wanders back into late-sixties earthy folk in the second half of the tune, an interesting transition that nonetheless dates the song somewhat.

“Ricochet” was originally recorded as a single, and Jones has stated he was disappointed that it was included on the album. I can hear why as it doesn’t fit the general mood of the other tracks. This one features heavy organ passages and vocals on the vein of the Doobie Brothers or even Blood, Sweat & Tears. Interesting note though, as a single this was supposedly the first song ever released with quadraphonic sound. Pretty advanced for a b-list band in the early seventies.

The CD reissue includes three songs from the band’s second album ‘Growing’, including the title track of that record. This one and “Hard Road” are more straightforward heavy rock with fewer keyboards and more vocals than most of the rest of the album, while “Jonesy” is a lengthy instrumental that again hearkens back to King Crimson’s more experimental side but is also likely improvised for the most part. This one also includes brass that was not present on the debut album, and I suspect the track was filler on the second record for the most part.

Like I said, Jonesy was a b-list prog band who didn’t have near the press or recognition of contemporaries like Genesis, King Crimson, Yes or ELP. But their debut is a decent record, though not great, and would probably appeal to many fans of heavy prog at least. Three stars with the caveat that while none of these tracks are poor, none of them are exactly great either.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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