Jon Paris"Blue Planet"
Blues Leaf Records
CD review by Roger-Z (8/28/04)
"The blues had a baby and they named the baby rock and roll," sang Muddy Waters. I say they named him Jon Paris. Blues masters love to boast. Bo Diddley proclaims "I'm A Man." Muddy Waters brags "I'm a Hootchie Coochie Man." Jon Paris, not to be left out, sings I'm "Good To Go." In "Overhauled Cadillac, he preens, "I just got a tuneup and an overhaul. Now my Cadillac drives just like new. Let me take you for a ride, little girl, and I'll show you what my Cadillac can do." A talented writer, Mr. Paris authored both songs as well as the majority of tunes on the album.
Although Mr. Paris began his career on drums and plays most electric instruments, here he limits himself to vocals, guitar, and harp. His expressive, commanding voice and bluesy, liquid guitar dominate the album. Ably backed for the most part by Amy Madden on bass and Sandy Gennaro on drums, Mr. Paris and guitar explode on "'Til I Lost You," "This Ain't The Planet I Signed Up For," and "Paris Blues." Some of his style may be attributed to the ten-year stint playing bass in Johnny Winter's trio. Like a full-throttle locomotive, Mr. Paris steams through his John Lee Hooker tribute, "The Boogie." Slide guitar, however, turns out to be Mr. Paris's secret weapon. He kills on the Sonny Thompson's lament, "The Sad Night Owl," his own, dangerous,"One Step Forward and Two Steps Back," and the Elmore James' classic "Talk To Me Baby." The sparsely sprinkled harp serves as the piece-de-resistance. Dig the growling smears and high-note articulation on "Overhauled Cadillac."
Tasteful, boisterous, commanding, respectful of the past but hooked into the future, John Paris had best start preparing to sing "The Bigtime Blues."