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Off Yonder Wall

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Album Review

Although they were together off and on in different stints since they formed as the Nighthawks in 1962, blues trio Frank Frost(harmonica, piano, organ), Sam Carr (drums), and Big Jack Johnson (guitar) has had a relatively sparse recording history. They began calling themselves the Jelly Roll Kings in 1979, but the music remained the same stripped-down, no-frills version of juke joint blues that reimported the Chicago blues format back to the Delta and gave it a swampy spin. Off Yonder Wall was another reunion of sorts for the trio. The album was recorded in 1996 by blues enthusiast Robert Palmer (author of a popular blues history called Deep Blues) and was released on Mississippi's Fat Possum Records a year later, chock-full of spunky blues, most of it done at a quick tempo and anchored by Johnson's aggressive guitar playing and ragged vocals. Frost, who is probably best known for his incendiary harmonica playing, only features the instrument on one track here, and likewise only takes one lead vocal. His swirling, subtle organ work, though, gives the trio a surprisingly thick, punchy sound, and of course, Carr drives it all home. Among the highlights here are "Frank Frost Blues," "So Lonesome," the funky "Fat Back," and the driving, live-sounding closer, "I'm a Big Boy Now," but the whole album is one big swampy blues romp that is of a piece with the rest of their recorded output, whether you call them the Nighthawks or the Jelly Roll Kings.

Customer Reviews

It is good. Great guitar sound & fun lyrics. tasty!

Big Jack Johnson can flat out Jam

Biography

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

The Jelly Roll Kings are a trio of state-of-the-art Mississippi Delta bluesmen who play their music raw and unvarnished, complete with lilting rhythms, dreamily atmospheric keyboards, dance-shuffle drums, and soul-drenched vocals. Led by guitarist Big Jack Johnson, the band includes two veterans of the Delta juke joint scene — Frank Frost on keyboards and harmonica, and Sam Carr, the son of legendary blues...
Full Bio
Off Yonder Wall, Jelly Roll Kings
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