FAME Review: John-Alex Mason - Jook Joint Thunderclap
John-Alex Mason - Jook Joint Thunderclap

Jook Joint Thunderclap

John-Alex Mason

Naked Jaybird Music - NJBM008

Available from John-Alex Mason's Bandcamp online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

This disc is both a departure and a welcomed extension of Mason's previous musical output. It is a departure because he uses other musicians to bring his music to a new level -- whenever there is more than one it can become a 'we' situation and that denotes collaboration and expansion of ideas. It is an extension of his thoughts and exploration of Hill Country, Delta, and Gospel music, taking them further steps down a path of investigation to their roots, and then ripping them apart and escalating the genre. His associates on this project are well-established musicians, some from the Hill-Country, and all add valuable pieces to this effort. A few of the teammates are Cedric (drums) and Cody Burnside (vocals), his old partner Gerry Hundt (harmonica, nine-string guitar, and mandolin) Fara Tolno (djembe), and Lightnin' Malcolm (guitar and bass). He does not abandon the one man band concept and employs it on several of the cuts Playing his drum kit and his excellent work on Lowebow cigar-box guitar (it is a bizarre instrument made from two oak dowel rods, a wooden cigar box, three guitar strings and a bass string, played through two separate amps; one amp handles the bass end and the other the guitar strings).

Mason knows his blues music who hails from an unlikely portion of the country to fall in love with this music and perform it with such a feel for it. Colorado Springs, CO is about as far from the music of Mississippi as you can get in almost every way. It is a military and cowboy town that sits in the high desert of southern Colorado; it is a dry desert town, where drought is the norm and rain is a welcomed occasional visitor that drops by far too infrequently. His introduction to the music comes from his parent's housekeeper, Viola Marigna who introduced him to ecstatic gospel singing in the Baptist church, a definite influence on his singing, and from his older brother who introduced him to Led Zeppelin and Mason's own curiosity made him follow the rope down to the other end and that was the "Devil's music", the blues of Robert Johnson. This is his best and most complete disc to date and it makes me look forward to where he is going from here to further expand his sound.

Track List:

  • Delta Bound (Prologue)
  • My Old Lonesome Home
  • Gone So Long (Feat. Cody Burnside)
  • More than Wind
  • Riding On (Feat. Cody Burnside)
  • Rolled and Tumbled
  • Diamond Rain
  • Signifyin' Monkey
  • Free
  • Write me a few of your lines
  • Whisper
  • If You've Got a Good Friend

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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