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JOHN JONES - Never Stop Moving

JOHN JONES - Never Stop Moving
Westpark Music WESTPARK87277

The second solo album by Oysterband singer John Jones is coloured by several years of walking to the band’s gigs with the Reluctant Ramblers and by his brush with cancer last year. These twin influences are clearest in the anthemic title song and in The Wanderer, where his path by a white horse carved in the downs is described as his lifeline. The villages and small towns he passed through have sparked his imagination, resulting in songs like Down By The Lake (shades of Molly Bawn?) or Ghosts Of The Village (where the original inhabitants have been displaced by moneyed folk).

There is much to enjoy, but I’m not sure about John’s suggestion in the accompanying PR that these are big songs for a small country, or that he has achieved his stated aim of a mood of gentle uplift. The album is not short of confusing lyrics and darkness. I was on firmer ground with the three traditional songs which he arranged with Benji Kirkpatrick: Jim Jones (a near namesake planning revenge on his tormentors in Botany Bay), Banks Of Newfoundland and Rambling Boys Of Pleasure.

John is singing as well as ever, with strength and feeling. The arrangements are thoughtful, giving each song the chance to breathe. The style is tempered Oysterband with Lindsey Oliver’s bass and Dil Davis’s drums providing a platform for Al Scott’s guitar, Tim Cotterrell’s fiddle and Benji’s bouzouki. A special word for the fine backing and harmony vocals of Rowan Godel.

There’s more on the Reluctant Ramblers on his website. Keep walking, John.

Tony Hendry

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This album was reviewed in Issue 110 of The Living Tradition magazine.