Based in North Carolina and bassist for the Peter Holsapple Combo, Jones also has his own career, Ready For The Good Times being his third album, a 12 song collection of old school country folk produced by Jerry Brown and featuring Mandolin Orange’s Andrew Marlin on mandolin and guitar with Nancy Middleton and Emma Davis, with whom he comprises The Goodloves, on backing vocals.
Libby Rodenbough from Mipson on fiddle, it opens with ‘Ripples In The Pond’, a call to resist the tide of evil and not give in to despair but spread the ripples of peace and resistance. Saloon piano sets the mood on the bluesy playfulness of ‘My Baby Makes Pie’, but it’s the more pointed and personal songs that stand out. The title track, which closes the set, is another old timey track he wrote a while back just before he almost killed himself on a drinking binge, the sentiments of the title reflecting that he’s now sober, something he talks about on the reformed man’s message to a former lover ‘I Wish You Could See Me Now’. The same notion is the bedrock of ‘A New Great Pyramid’, a piano ballad of the early Kenny Rogers persuasion, looking back on “ten thousand days of old hurt and bitter wallow”, praying “Lord, don’t let me live another moment back there in what might have been”.
On a political note, accompanied by upright bass and minimal piano, ‘The Other’, is a commentary on immigration sung in the hateful voice of a racist who calls the Chinamen who built the railways coolies and sees immigrants, especially the new tide of Italians, as a threat to “our way of living” and mothers and daughters. It’s set in the early days of America, but such views have little changed.
The theme is also there on the album’s six-minute highlight, the waltzing Texicana ‘I’m Not Francesca’, again with Newton, the narrator a Mexican housemaid whose new employer insists on calling her the same as “the three girls before you” as she grafts away smiling for the gringos “cause a generous tip, it means all the difference”, her situation summed up in her plea “I am a person/Give me my dignity…is it too much to ask of you/To let me be me?”
Elsewhere, ‘Heartland’, a fiddle and mandolin-coloured strummed country ballad about two people with nothing in common “but the things that matter most”, and the soulful organ-backed ‘Let’s Make Some Good Old Days’, a southern blues country duet with Durham-born Middleton, are both love songs while, in playful mood again and with tuba putting in appearance, the first verse of ‘No Fool Like An Old Fool’ has a long married reverend juggling his prim wife with a hot brunette in a red Corvette while the second has a bald buddy investing in a new head of hair in the deluded belief “the chicks would all come flockin’” only to end up looking “like a dying starter lawn”.
‘Bury My Heart On Music Row’ is a song for and about every musician who headed to Nashville to capitalise on a brief run of hits and wound up having doors slammed in his face after 15 second auditions and reduced to bussing tables and serving fries, but still carrying the dream in their heart.
On the evidence here, Jones doesn’t need to worry about ever playing pizza parlours for tips. One more featuring Newton on vocals, he declares ‘I’ve Got A Voice’ “and I’m gonna sing it”. He does and you should listen.
Artist’s website: www.glennjonesacoustic.com
‘Ain’t No Lonely’: