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Jelly Roll Kings


Originally released in 1971 by Ahura Mazda Records. Recorded at Maringouin, LA during the week of Christmas, 1970.

Something of a blues supergroup, the Jelly Roll Kings feature the talents of guitarist Big Jack Johnson, drummer Sam Carr, and keyboardist/harmonica-player Frank Frost. The blues press has been touting Johnson’s tasty licks as the driving force behind Off Yonder Wall, but that’s probably because they don’t know what to make of Frost’s eccentric organ style–his wild-card playing breathes new life into old chestnuts such as “Baby Please Don’t Go” and “That’s Alright Mama” and gives a needed edge to originals such as “Fat Back” and “So Lonesome.”

Sometimes it seems as if Frost is off in a personal reverie, playing another song altogether, but mostly he sounds like Booker T. on a binge at the roller rink. It’s totally joyous stuff. Frost’s playing also brings to mind Jon Spencer’s description of Kimbrough’s music. “It’s falling apart and falling together at the same time,” he says, and the same thing could be said of the other Fat Possum artists. They’re unsteady and rock-steady at the same time, and that quality infuses their music with an inner tension that’s wondrous to hear.

-John Lews

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