Concert for Chris Jones

Chris Jones was a talented acoustic blues musician who sadly passed away in the September of 2005, aged 46.

It’s hard to quantify how much influence he held as, like many genres of music,  Blues and Folk hardly ever receive media support from the big corporations. However, it’s safe to say that his talent with a guitar was and still is legendary; and his memory lives on through a festival of his music that’s staged once a year.

The Club, “Bluenote” has been holding a concert in his memory since Chris’ passing. What started out as a way of raising funds for treatment for a much loved and respected musician has now turned into an institution, with bands and musicians coming from all over Europe and America to play.

For the first time ever, I was invited to play with a band whose singer was Irish, guitarists were American and German, bassist was Scottish and harp player, (or mouth organ before anyone becomes confused), was Serbian, the great Slavko Hilvert. Naturally, I was the weakest link being only a passionate amateur, and having only been told the set list five hours before we played… but that’s by the by. I had a great time, (being half drunk and behind the drums is the ONLY way to play the Blues), and saw the usual crowd of guys who I see every year at the gig.

Jon, Chris’ brother, flies in every year from Oceanside, Darin D’onofrio flies in from Maryland, Slavko and his son Filip from Serbia, and a whole swathe of top performers and musicians come from the UK and Germany, and it’s nearly always the same faces. All to pay homage and remember Chris Jones.

The line up this year was:

Friday, 11.11. 2016
– Brother Jon & Michaela Lamparter (Very touching, they sang the song in the link)
– Wilder Pilger (Who actually played on the Saturday, but the formating won’t let me change his position… sorry Florian.)
– Roland Scull (Who was on “The Voice of Germany” the day after, though he didn’t go through)
– Brother Jon & the Bluenote Allstars (me on drums!! Madness)
– Darin D`Onofrio (Maryland, and Italy now and then.)
– Tom Ripphahn (German chap who always claims my drums when it comes to the free jam at the end)
– It´s M.E.(Berlin duo, very polished)

Saturday, 12.11.2016
– Mathew James White (New Zealand, and strangely we didn’t talk about rugby?)
– Kieran Halpin (Irish chap who seems to be on the road like forever!Seriously, the guy has been every where.)
– Christoph Schellhorn (Tirol, who has an extremely strong accent in German, but sounds Irish when he speaks.)
– Darin D`Onofrio (Hey, he’s from the States, let’s use him again…)
– Brother Jon & the Bluenote Allstars (Me again…a lot better this time, having already played the songs once before…)
– Slavko & Filip Hilvert (Wales played Serbia as we were on stage… there was a minor amount of rivalry after the game 😀 😀 😀 )
– Wullie Wullschläger, Sonja Tonn & Jürgen Hoffmann (All three absolutely brilliant in their respective roles.)

…AND not forgetting Yogi Yockusch who makes him money as a percussionist and did a spontaneous slot on day two,  and the Bluenote Allstars, with Freddy Mccorkey from Ireland on vocals, Jon Jones and Klauss Bergmann on guitars, Tommy Gallagher from Scotland on bass, and YT on the congos and bongoes.

You see, it isn’t just about them playing for money, that’s not even a tenth of the whole thing as the profit made goes to a charity. They fly and drive over because Chris meant something to them. His acoustic guitar work still challenges, his songs still inspire hope, sadness, melancholy and happiness. His work with Steve Baker is the sort of music covered by every classic Blues/Rock formation, good old foot-stompin’, 4/4 rhythm, 12-bar structure with lyrics stronger in feeling than artistic fluidity; and yet his acoustic tracks have you breathless at every pause, strained by the emotion behind the words. He was a name in the European Blues scene that drew crowds; people who were in “the know” and not beholden to the soulless electronic music factory.

And now he’s gone, killed in his own words by the tobacco industry. The world will never know what could have been with Mr. Jones as he left us far too early. What will go on though, is his memory.

This is one of his finest tracks, which this year was covered by a nice German lady who sang it beautifully in clear cut English with a soft Irish lilt, and Chris’ brother. They opened the first night and it set the whole scene for what was to come.

Listen to the song, read the lyrics, and see what Chris Jones was about.

Thanks for reading.

Reggie.

Thank You by Chris Jones

Verse 1

Look at that junkie, strung-out, on what God only knows
He ain’t washed or shaved in a couple of days and there are stains upon his clothes
Now it ain’t smack or that cocaine-crack that’s brought him to his knees
But the fully legal product of the tobacco companies
The tobacco companies

Chorus

So thank you R.J. Reynolds for helpin’ me look so cool
And thank you Phillip Morris for keepin’ me company after school
And thank you Brown & Williamson, l hope you spent my money well
When this is past and I’ve smoked my last I will see you all in hell
l will see you all in hell

Verse 2

Now this junkie’s not on a street corner, or sleepin’ in an alleyway
ln fact, l saw him in my own living room about 3 A.M. today
His hands were shakin’, his will was breakin’ and his body bathed in sweat
Take a good look, people, this is as low as a man can get
As low as a man can get

Chorus

So thank you R.J. Reynolds for helpin’ me look so cool
And thank you Phillip Morris for keepin’ me company after school
And thank you Brown & Williamson, l hope you spent my money well
When this is past and I’ve smoked my last I will see you all in hell
l will see you all in hell

Verse 3

Now, l’ve got my own two shoulders upon which to place the blame
But the companies’ false piety, well it bugs me just the same
And let us not forget our state and federal government
Before I go I’d like to know where all those taxes went, where all those taxes went

Chorus

So thank you R.J. Reynolds for helpin’ me look so cool
And thank you Phillip Morris for keepin’ me company after school
And thank you Brown & Williamson, l hope you spent my money well
When this is past and I’ve smoked my last I will see you all in hell
l will see you all in hell, I will see you all in Hell.

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2 thoughts on “Concert for Chris Jones

  1. A very moving post, Reggie. So sad. Tobacco is a real killer. Thanks so much for sharing this. Chris Jones was so talented – he’ll be very much missed.

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