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June 1997

The Jellyroll Kings
Off Yonder Wall
Fat Possum/Capricorn

The Jellyroll Kings deal in gritty juke joint splendor on Off Yonder Wall (Fat Possum/Capricorn 314 534 131-2; 48:25). Produced by esteemed music journalist Robert Palmer, this all-the-way-raw collection highlights the spontaneous interaction and real deal abandon of Big Jack Johnson on guitar and vocals, Sam Carr on drums and Frank Frost on keyboards, harmonica and vocals. Frost's cheesy Farfisa organ sound lends a wacky Sun Ra quality to familiar fare like "Sittin' On Top Of The World" and "Baby Please Don't Go." Johnson offers some rather sick, out-of-tune guitar statements on "Fishin' Musician" and throws in some outrageous tremolo work on a twisted version of "That's Alright Mama." The Kings pitch a boogie on the rocking closer, "I'm A Big Boy Now," proving that-as far as juke joint blues is concerned-authentic feel and unbounded enthusiasm is often more relevant than things like correct intonation and proper time. Fat Possum also has an excellent sampler out, The Best Of Fat Possum (314 534 130-2), featuring down and dirty performances by R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Dave Thompson, Paul Jones, Cedell Davis and the Jellyroll Kings.

Originally published in June 1997
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