“Focusing the emotional thrust of a song as well as any Texan on the circuit this decade, Tutu Jones pledges fidelity to the grand old Dallas-Fort Worth blues tradition with his strong singing and his exciting yet thoughtful Freddie King-style guitar. Listeners get yanked into worlds full of despair and renewal by spirited makeovers of Bobby Bland’s “Sunday Morning Love”, Smokey Robinson’s “My Girl” and by forceful rundowns of three originals.”
AUSTIN IMPRINTS By Martin De Leon II
Mean-faced and holding his guitar like a shotgun, Dallas-based bluesman Tutu Jones is no joke. His guitar style is the blues equivalent of N.W.A on ecstasy: brutal, yet sprinkled with subtle soul. Jones grew up a drummer, then eventually plucked his way into the spotlight. His poorly titled Live debut is a Mike Tyson punch of sugary songs about heartache (“Have You Ever Loved a Woman”) and good times (“Sunday Morning Love”). Jones churns out some clean picking, and just when his blues start wearing you down – repetition is no one’s friend – Jones throws some soul around with ease. “My Girl,” the only cover on the album, is sung in Jones’ rusty voice and puts some rockist weight on the feathery hit. Shy is not what blues musicians are known for, and Jones is no different, as everything is boastful on this disc. Scales get manhandled on “Shake What Your Mama Gave You” where they free booty and brain in a fit of solos. Bluesmen are traditionalists, but Jones learns how to mesh soulful wails with syrupy blues that are as sweaty live as they are in quiet studios.