R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

Trouble From Texas


Although Texas bluesman Curtis Jones hit a high spot in his career in the late-'30s, it wasn't until 1960, when the great Rudy Van Gelder produced Trouble Blues, that a complete Jones album was released. Now available in CD and mp3 formats, it's a must have for traditional blues and boogie fans.

Jones' vocal style is spare and honest, with a nasal twang befitting his Texas background. Along with a full rhythm section, Jones accompanies himself on piano and his playing is full of delights and wonders. Keeping a steady New Orleans style walk in his left hand, his right hand takes off, rhythmically independent, alternating between fills around his vocals and unison lines with them.

The set opens with one of Jones' most well known song, "Lonesome Bedroom Blues," which was a hit in the years leading up to WWII. In "Suicide Blues," which is not as bleak as the title suggests, Jones anchors the band with a Fats Domino-style shuffle bassline while renowned Chicago blues pianist Johnny "Big Moose" Walker takes off on the guitar. (No, that's not a typo, pianist Walker plays guitar on this session.)

Though most of the tracks are centered on themes of lost love, "Good Time Special" brightens the mood with an infectious Boogie Woogie piano intro. The instrumental title track, "Trouble Blues", also puts Jones' piano front and center and his playing makes it seem that whatever the trouble was, it couldn't have been that bad.