Music Review

Book Reviews and Reading Diary
CD Buying Guide and Music Links
Best-of lists
CD Reviews
CDs, sorted by Style
CDs, sorted by year issued
CDs, sorted by publication review ran in
CDs by San Diego bands
All CDs, sorted by band name
All CDs, sorted by album title
Favorite quotations
Contact Me

Jones shines on both guitar, vocals

I Need a Storm
I Need a Storm
By Paul Urbana Jones

Flying Fish Records: 1992

Buy it on CD now from
Buy it now

A New Zealander of African descent, by way of his mother's England, Paul Urbana Jones is a living, singing musical stew. This album of acoustic guitar and vocals is one of the most interesting – and exciting – rock/pop albums of its type in some while.

Vocally, he's as strong as Bobby McFerrin or Patty Cathcart; on guitar – his only backing – he shows as much skill and imagination as Cathcart's husband, Tuck Andress, or the subject of the ode "Song to Jimi." Like Andress and Hendrix, Jones doesn't sound like anyone else on guitar; it's really not possible to adequately describe his playing. He's all over the instrument, simultaneously setting down the rhythm and playing lead, constantly surprising you with the sounds he's getting out of an acoustic guitar.

Jones is also a wonderful songwriter, with the Hendrix ode and "Call Him Hero" potential hits. His music could best be described as rock, although there are bits and pieces of various African musics, as well as Maori.

It's not that he sounds like them, but listeners who were riveted by Tuck and Patty's recordings are likely to have a similar reaction to Paul Urbana Jones. His music is funky (check out his version of Gil Scott Heron's "Home is Where the Hate Is" or his reading of Memphis Slim's "Life is Like That"), it's syncopatic – he just has a larger-than-life charisma and musical talent that reach out and captivate you if you're at all open to what he's doing.