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The box set Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection brings to light...

Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records - Downbeat 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Downbeat Magazine

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Anyone who's looking to advance their career would be very well served to have Michael...

Sari Schorr

New York songwriter/bandleader/singer

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Michael is a 21st century renaissance man who has both the business acumen and the...

Don Wilcock

Freelance Music Writer

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Floyd Jones

July 21, 1917 – December 19, 1989

Floyd Jones can be heard on Old Friends (Earwig CD 4902) and Delta Bluesman, featuring Honeyboy Edwards (Earwig CD 4922).

Floyd Jones was an American blues singer, guitarist and songwriter, who is significant as one of the first of the new generation of electric blues artists to record in Chicago after World War II. A number of his recordings are regarded as classics of the Chicago blues idiom, and his song “On the Road Again” was a Top 10 hit for Canned Heat in 1968. Notably for a blues artist of his era, several of his songs have economic or social themes, such as “Stockyard Blues” (which refers to a strike at the Union Stock Yards), “Hard Times” and “Schooldays”.

Jones was born in Marianna, Arkansas. He started playing the guitar seriously after being given one by Howlin’ Wolf. He worked as an itinerant musician in the Arkansas and Mississippi area in the 1930s and early 1940s. He settled in Chicago in 1945. In Chicago, Jones took up the electric guitar and was one of the numerous musicians playing on Maxwell Street and in nonunion venues in the late 1940s who played an important role in the development of the postwar Chicago blues. This group included Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers, both of whom went on to become mainstays of the Muddy Waters band, and Snooky Pryor, Jones’s cousin Moody Jones and the mandolin player Johnny Young.

Jones’s first recording session, in 1947, with Pryor on harmonica and Moody on guitar, produced the sides “Stockyard Blues” and “Keep What You Got”, which formed one of the two records released by the Marvel label. They were one of the first examples of the new style on record. A second session, in 1949, resulted in a release on the similarly short-lived Tempo-Tone label. During the 1950s Jones’s records were released by JOB, Chess and Vee-Jay. In 1966 he recorded for the Testament label’s Masters of Modern Blues series. Earwig released the album Old Friends , featuring Jones and David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Sunnyland Slim, Big Walter Horton, and Kansas City Red; Jones sang and played lead guitar on “Mr. Freddy Blues” and “Over the Seas Blues” and sang on “Banty Rooster”. He played bass on all the other album tracks .

Jones continued performing in Chicago for the rest of his life, most often playing at the clubs Elsewhere and B.L.U.E.S. and as a member of the Honeyboy Edwards Blues Band. In 1979, 1981, 1984 and 1985 he played festivals in the US and Canada as part of Earwig Music Company’s Traveling Blues Revue, accompanied by Honeyboy Edwards, Kansas City Red and Lester Davenport. Although Floyd Jones had few further recording opportunities, after the Old Friends sessions in 1980, he made a duo album with Big Walter Horton. Later in his career the electric bass became his main instrument. He died in Chicago on December 19, 1989, of emphysema, and was buried at Mount Glenwood Memory Gardens, in Willow Springs, Illinois.

floyd jones
Vocal, Bass, Guitar