Home Albums Album Review : Laurence Jones – Bad Luck & The Blues 

Album Review : Laurence Jones – Bad Luck & The Blues 

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Reviewed by Taf Rock for MPM

Good morning blues!!! Laurence Jones has been purveying his trade from a very early age as a British guitarist devoted to the blues field.

The Warwickshire based 6 stringer released his very impressive debut album over ten years ago now (2012’s Thunder in the Sky) recorded as the leader of a power trio.

The impressive title track still features as part of every gig. This in turn led to Laurence being dubbed ‘the future of the blues’ by none other than Classic Rock Magazine. Indeed in 3 consecutive years (2014-2016) Laurence was voted young artist of the year at the UK blues awards as he released a string of albums and toured extensively taking in major blues festivals along the way. 

As the years progressed Laurence sound evolved with the lineup of his band changing quite frequently  eventually adding keyboards to expand from his original power trio taking the band in a more commercial radio friendly direction at times. This all culminated in 2022’s very impressive Destination Unknown album which was a relative success for Laurence. However Laurence has never been an artist to rest on his laurels. After all to stay the same is to go backwards at times.

Sometime around New Year’s Eve 2022 the now 30 year old Laurence decided to take a lonely road to this unknown destination pondering his next move. He followed the road eventually arriving at a crossroads. However unlike the legendary Robert Johnson  Laurence did not fall down to his knees and sell his soul to the devil. On the evidence of this album Laurence stood up tall awaiting the arrival of the demonic figure himself. Upon his appearance Laurence grabbed Lucifer’s trident, thrust it in the air and in a scene reminiscent of 1980s cult hero’s Twisted Sister screamed at the top of his voice ‘I WANNA ROCK’. Lucifer pointed at Laurence, smiled and said to Mr Jones ‘On you go my son’.

Laurence left the scene and headed once again in the direction of Milton Keynes famous Marshall studios taking with him gargantuan bassist Jack Alexander Timmis (a 4 year veteran bandmate) and new recruit powerhouse drummer Ash Sheehan (who formerly played behind rock giants Glenn Hughes and Tony Iommi).

Representing quite a departure from his recent albums Laurence slimmed his band back down to his original format of a power trio dispensing with the keyboards from his previous few albums. The band may be more compact in size but the sound is all together a much BIGGER affair.

Mixed by Chris Sheldon (Jeff Beck, Foo Fighters, King King) this is the album Laurence has longed to record for many years I feel returning to the power trio format of that impressive debut and is as close to an actual Laurence Jones live gig (which has always been the arena in which he has truly excelled) as possible given the confines of recording studios.

The album kicks off in fine style and sets the scene for a very rocky journey with the opening riff of BAD LUCK & THE BLUES leading into the powerful opening beat of Ash Sheehan’s thunderous kit work.  Underpinned by the rock solid foundation of Timmis on bass the opener sets off at a fair pace like a racehorse released from the stalls.

The power trio format allows Laurence the freedom to truly express himself, indeed there really is no room for keyboards on this or any other track on the album. It’s a song reflecting on Laurence daily struggle with Crohn’s disease an illness he has been learning to cope with since being diagnosed as an 18 year old. Laurence ‘wants to be free .. for the rest of my days’. Riff driven with a funky edge it’s an excellent introduction. Laurence lets loose on the guitar for the first time launching into an iconic blues  solo. It’s a breathtaking start. So much so that drummer Ash let’s loose with a triumphant shout out at the culmination of the track.

On now to I’M GONE. A slower almost restrained plodding pace which to these ears has a touch of early Sabbath feel about it. A kind of slowed down Iron Man sort of riff which will continue to please the blues rock fraternity.

The dirty bass of Timmis as big in stature as the giant of a man is himself creating a massive sound for Laurence to overlay his overdriven guitar on top of. Laurence is having fun here letting the guitar take him in all directions with searing lead breaks. ‘I just lost my way, what did I do to deserve this from you’ he pleads. I beg to differ Laurence you’ve found a whole new direction to your sound which is sure to appeal to an army of new fans as well as the established Jones diehards.

Three tracks in (LONELY ROAD) and it’s clear that this album is very special. Even faster than the frenetic pace of the opener this is an out and out rocker played at breakneck speed which is sure to drive crowds into a frenzy at forthcoming gigs.

Indeed I witnessed this track at the recent Buxton Blues festival (along with 5 others from this delightful release) and it had myself and many others punching the air in delight. Driving drums and bass launch this track like a bullet from a gun headlong into the raucous chantable chorus ‘Help me, help me… fading away’. You can’t help but join in as you join the band and ‘go insane down this lonely road’. Breathtaking stuff.

DON’T YOU LEAVE ME THIS WAY is a much more restrained affair but this ain’t no blues ballad (indeed this is the first album Laurence has recorded that contains no ballads at all). Another plodding riff creating a wall of sound with Laurence peppering the tune with guitar breaks reminiscent of air raid sirens at times.

As the song progresses Laurence lets the effect laden guitar take us to new heights. He’s truly enjoying himself here in an almost Hendrix kind of style demonstrating his incredible skills on the guitar to its max. The all too soon fading of the track (at gigs I can see this track being extended for quite a few more minutes) means we can draw breath at last.

LOST BROKEN  – And here we are at the aforementioned crossroads with Laurence selling his soul. ‘A change is gonna come my way’ Laurence sings . ‘I’m lost, I’m broken, trying to find my way’. The lyrics are typical blues lyrics delivered in a refreshing upbeat style. This is rock blues at its best

STUCK IN THE NIGHT – a staccato style opening riff with Jack’s thunderous bass prominent throughout. Jack and Ash are a huge part of the sound of this album which is a true band effort. Slimmed down band does not mean a slimmed down sound, quite the opposite. Another sing a long chorus – ‘open your eyes now, what do you say…. I’m stuck in the night’ before Laurence takes the listener on another trip accompanied by his guitar. The track gathers pace rushing headlong to a whirlwind finish.

TAKE CONTROL – no waiting for a lead break on this one the track launches straight into fretboard heaven with an almost psychedelic style intro. And there’s that wonderous bass sound again a main feature. Take a bow Jack. 

OUT IN THE DISTANCE – Laurence vocals are a feature of this one. Not content with incredible guitar wizardry his often overlooked vocals come to the fore before it’s Ash’s turn to show off with some exceptional drum work. 

WOMAN – ‘I want to be your man’  sings Laurence over another dirty bass riff courtesy of Jack. The thundering riff accompanying Ash pounding the drums as if his life depended on it. Another out and out rocker guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE – last but certainly not least we reach the final track of an epic album . All too often albums like this end on a whimper but not in this case. The main riff gets its claws into you immediately as Ash’s drums join in before the main vocal.

Possibly the most sing a long chorus on the whole album ‘Sometimes I feel like I’m just a fool, sometimes I feel there’s nothing to lose, sometimes I feel like I got the blues, you’re not alone’.  Too damn right you’re not Laurence. Time for one final demonstration of the young man’s insane ability on the guitar before we can draw breath and press repeat.

Good morning blues!!! The blues certainly gets a wake-up call with this album. Not the slow whispering kind either. More the drag you out of bed kicking and screaming as if the house is on fire kind. Blues purists may well have issues with this album but what the heck.

It’s essentially a modern fresh sounding hard hitting rocking blues guitar based album recorded in the classic 70s power-trio style of bands like Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Robin Trower Band to name but three. Laurence’s influences are clear to see on this album – Gary Moore, Hendrix, Trower – with touches of modern bands like Royal Blood and even Queens of the Stone Age but this is most certainly a Laurence Jones album. He could easily have stayed on the path he was successfully travelling but as he told Lucifer at that crossroads ‘I WANNA ROCK’!!!! 

Bad Luck & The Blues Track Listing

Bad Luck & The Blues
I’m Gone
Lonely Road
Don’t You Leave Me This Way
Lost & Broken
Stuck In The Night
Take Control
Out In The Distance
You’re Not Alone




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Pictures courtesy of Haluk Gurer 

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