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CD Review: Jinx Jones - "Rip and Run"

January 17, 2011
Jinx Jones
Rip and Run
Jinx Jones

If you’re into rockabilly and honky-tonk, you already know it can be pretty tough to track down new albums with a satisfying, authentic sound and vibe. Over the last decade or so, Jinx Jones, out of the San Francisco Bay Area, has been one of the few reliable modern practitioners of old-school bossness. His latest album, Rip and Run, features 14 tracks full of swingin’ Gretsches and blazing Teles cranking out Bakersfield grooves over tongue-in-cheek humor (as in the Tele-powered “Redneck Barbie,” with its slinking double-stops) that’ll keep you smiling as you tap your foot and dig the guitar work. The title track begins with a stinging surf-shred lick before settling down into a classic, Dick Dale-approved groove soaked in cavernous reverb, and eventually leading to a wistful, Danny Gatton-esque solo. “Time to Have a Good Time Pt. 1” has a little too much of that winky-wink, lounge-lizard/bowling-shirt-guy vibe for my taste, but thankfully such moments are few and far between. Instrumentals like “Prairie Dog Daddy” and “Vibro eXotica” show the depth of Jones’ musical repertoire and provide a more serious mood here and there, too. The former has a Brian Setzer Orchestra-ish, big-band vibe and a slippery pedal-steel solo, while the latter pulses with hypnotic tremolo and pensive, echo-drenched bends. Similarly, “How High the Moon” sounds like a modern-day “Sleepwalk” and the fat, melancholy neck-pickup blues of “Roma’s Song” show how diverse Jones’ trick bag really is. But you’re always glad when tunes like the prurient sad-sack tale “Doghouse” (“I’m in the doghouse/for bein’ in the cathouse”) and the drag-race soundtrack/Bigsby workout of “On Parole & Out of Control”—with its pull-off frenzies and thumping upright bass—always come back to kick things into high gear.