CHARLIE JONES: Ultimate (Label: Ambush)


Too many soul fans complain that good old fashioned soul music just ain’t being made any more. The short answer is that, of course – it is! Yes, the music biz is dominated by here-today-gone-tomorrow artists whose music is air-brushed and pro-tooled to a highly polished blandness, but search hard enough and the real soul’s still out there. Case in point is this album from South Carolina’s Charlie Jones. Good time Charlie’s been around since the 80s making a music that’s stuffed with old school values and soul sensitivities. He’s never made the major leagues, but I guess he’s happy touring the south and selling albums like this during the intervals at his gigs. The ten tracker is totally without gimmicks; the songs are well crafted; the performances passionate and, for an indie album, the production values are decent. It’s a new album (the copyright is 2009) but it could well have been recorded in the 60s or 70s. Indeed the sound is so authentically old-fashioned that you could easily mistake it for some long lost Joe Simon recording. Charlie’s own ‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’ is a quite superb mid tempo rolling southern groove while ‘Reach Down Inside’ is a lugubrious Malaco-style ballad with some lovely changes. Indeed there’s lots to recommend here – but sadly, I know the appeal will be limited. Even the aforementioned mighty Joe Simon needed the gloss and magic of Gamble and Huff to really ignite his career and take it beyond the confines of southern soul. This album’s currently available via the usual internet outlets and for more information go to
(BB) 3/5