I first came in contact with Jinx Jones without knowing it, I'm sure.
He played guitar with En Vogue and I'm pretty sure that's him cutting a big swath across "Free Your Mind." I'm positive that's him backing up Solomon Burke and I know that's him playing with Chuck Berry "on and off" for nearly a decade form the late 1970s through the 1980s. I also know that's him strapping in with Roy Buchanan in 1984.
So with a streak slashed through R&B, rock, soul, and damn near everything else, where does a cat like Jinx Jones go next? With a wealth of experience, a cat like Jinx Jones goes solo.
With everything he's accumulated on display, Rip and Run is Jones' latest. It's a whole lot of rockabilly and honky-tonk, sure, but it's also a whole lot of nasty, dirty swing. With Joe Kyle Jr. on bass, Caroline Dahl on piano, Jimmy Sage on drums, and David Phillips on steel and pedal steel, this is a rip-roaring oasis of ridiculously cool stuff.
Jones tears through these songs with clean, crisp playing. He's not showy, but there's no shortage of attitude here.
Rip and Run jumps off with the chugging "On Parole & Out of Control." Jones shreds through the track like an illegal street race on the wrong side of town, surprising with gentle vocals over the coarse, revving arrangement.
The title track is big and mean in all the right places, with a surf music groove riding away underneath thick guitar. Jinx pokes the twang through in all the right places and shifts off the highway at the right time, never venturing into the indulgent territory that many other guitarists too often haunt. His is a gutsy but restrained approach, thankfully, and that benefits the record greatly.
"Doghouse" is the traditional "woe is me" number and it sinks in nicely. It's the sort of tune that feels at home on sawdust floors with chain-link walls. Jinx plays like he's ducking bottles. Maybe he is.
I've heard some other rockabilly artists over the last while and many sound like put-ons. I don't question their desire to perform, but the authenticity falls short like a two dollar steak with a three dollar beer. With Jinx Jones, it's a different boogie. Purity springs out of every ounce of reverb, out of every corner and every twang. He's the real deal, bloody fingers and all, and Rip and Run proves it.