CD Review – Jonesy – Waltz For Yesterday (Box Set)

It never quite worked out for Jonesy back in the 1970s. They were a well respected and admired band, with much musical ability amongst the various group members. The reasons for this perceived failure would be speculation – there were personnel changes that might have been unbalancing, the direction the band was taking wasn’t to the liking of all members with a least one of the group wanting to move to a funkier sound, or they might not just have got that lucky break that lifts an act to the next level. Whatever the reason or reasons, Jonesy are viewed, with hindsight, as a prog band that got away.

The band was founded in 1971 by guitarist John Evan-Jones, who had emigrated to Australia with his brother Trevor in the 1950s. By the mid-1960s, the Jones brothers were part of the band Chaos And Co and enjoyed some success. When he returned to the UK in 1969, John began to make a career as a session guitarist, but by 1971 had formed Jonesy with Jamie Kaleth on mellotron, keyboards, vocals, David Paull on bass and vocals and Jim Payne playing drums and percussion. This line-up signed a contract with Pye’s Progressive imprint Dawn and recorded their first album in May 1972. No Alternative included the track Ricochet, which gained some airplay and positive reviews in the European music press, where the band were compared with prog giants such as King Crimson and Yes being praised for their originality. In 1973 the band line-up changed with John’s brother, Trevor ‘Gypsy’ Jones, returning from Australia and joining on bass and vocals. They were joined by noted musician Alan Bown on electric trumpet and flugelhorn and Richard ‘Plug’ Thomas on drums. The musical direction of the band travelled in an even more progressive direction and the album Keeping Up received very favourable reviews and lead to the band touring Europe. Jonesy’s the third album, Growing, was produced by Rupert Hine early in his career, and was released to great acclaim in November 1973 receiving the Montreux Diamond Award as the top rock/pop album of the year in early 1974. Despite such a positive critical response, the band departed Dawn Records. John and Trevor formed a new line-up of Jonesy with Bernard Hagley playing electric saxes and flute, David Potts on drums and keyboard player Ken Elliott then returned to the studio to record a final album, Sudden Prayers Make God Jump. The album is said to be one of the band’s finest, but due to management issues, it failed to gain a release. The recordings first reappeared in 2003, sourced from a cassette tape, but in 2021 the original master recordings were located and have now been remastered.

This The Waltz for Tomorrow clamshell boxed set presents a newly remastered collection of the classic albums and recordings created by Jonesy between 1972 and 1974 taken from the original Dawn Records master tapes, plus newly discovered masters, along with a fully illustrated booklet. There are just a handful of bonus tracks included.

The music itself could be described as heavy prog, with King Crimson as an obvious influence. It’s not too difficult to notice a similarity to Yes or Uriah Heep from time to time, and a Beatles-ish pop touch in some of the lighter ballad songs. Growing and particularly Keeping Up are the strongest of the individual albums. A general criticism of the albums would be that they lack focus and seem a little inconsistent at times. One track could be distinctly jazz-rock, another definitely psychedelic-blues whimsy, then another a ballad with strings. There is nothing wrong with those individually, but a more successful route might have been to arrange the music so that they absorbed those approaches to produce a more cutting statement. There remains much to admire here though, when the band hits a high it is an impressive one, such as on Know Who Your Friends Are or Critique (With Exceptions). The musicians certainly know their way around their instruments but play impressively as a unit too. The vocals have limitations, but suit the music well enough. This release is a very good aural photo-shot of a progressive rock band that became obscure rather than commercially viable.

Disc One: No Alternative

2022 Remastered Version

1. No Alternative

2. Heaven

3. Mind Of The Century

4. 1958

5. Pollution

6. Ricochet

Bonus Track

7. Reprise

Disc Two: Keeping Up

2022 Remastered Version

Masquerade

Sunset And Evening Star

Preview

Questions And Answers

Critique (With Exceptions)

Duet

Song

Children

Bonus Tracks

Ricochet (Single Version)

Every Day’s The Same

Disc Three: Growing

2022 Remastered Version

1. Can You Get That Together?

2. Waltz For Yesterday

3. Know Who Your Friends Are

4. Growing

5. Hard Road

6. Jonesy

Sudden Prayers Make God Jump

2022 Remastered Version

7. Dark Room (Is It All Just A Bad Dream?)

8. Running

9. Bad Dreams

10. The Lights Have Changed

11. Old Gentleman’s Relief

12. Anthem

Jonesy over the years:

Trevor “Gypsy” Evan-Jones – Vocals, bass

John Evan-Jones – Guitar, vocals

Bernie Hagley – Saxophone, flute, vocals

Terry Cutting – Drums

Jamie Kaleth – Vocals, Mellotron

David Potts – Drums

David Paull – Vocals, bass

Jim Payne – Drums

Nick Greenwood – Vocals, bass

Richard “Plug” Thomas – Drums

Alan Bown – Electric trumpet, electric flugelhorn

Ken Elliott – Keyboards

Release date: 28th January, 2022

Record Label: Cherry Red Records

Format: CD Box Set

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