Lloyd Jones

Highway Bound

I first heard Lloyd Jones and his band, The Struggle, out at Scotty’s Boat Landing on Labor Day 1989 and instantly became a huge fan. Since that auspicious event, the Portland-based group has played many more gigs in Chico. One was recorded at the Sierra Nevada Brewery’s tap room that resulted in a CD: 1993’s Have Mercy—Live on Burnside Records. In 1997, he and his band appeared at Eureka’s first Blues by the Bay Festival where they backed up Earl King. That night Jones appeared solo at a small restaurant and it was yet another treat to hear him playing acoustic guitar in an intimate setting. On this CD, subtitled Traditional Folk Blues, which features him mostly on acoustic guitar, he digs into such country blues as Mississippi John Hurt’s “Don’t Want Me Baby” and a peppy version of Robert Johnson’s “Last Fair Deal Gone Down” (on electric guitar with slide). Blind Willie McTell’s “Broke Down Engine” is just one of the showcases for his impressive finger-picking skills. Jones has included two of his own songs that fit the mold—one the cheery “Travelin’ On,” the first track on this engaging CD. Harmonicists Curtis Salgado and Charlie Musselwhite guest on one song each. To quote Musselwhite: “[Lloyd’s] a great guitar player—great tone and phrasing from his heart.” Amen!