Al Jones

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This article is about the English singer, songwriter and guitarist. For other uses, see Al Jones (disambiguation).
Alun Ashworth-Jones
Al-jones-April 1998.jpg
Al Jones in 1998
Background information
Also known as Al Jones
Born (1945-10-31)October 31, 1945
Saffron Walden, Essex, United Kingdom
Died June 1, 2008(2008-06-01) (aged 62)
Genres Folk, blues, folk rock
Occupations Songwriter, guitarist, singer
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1960s–2008

Alun Ashworth-Jones (31 October 1945 Saffron Walden, Essex – 1 June 2008), known as Al Jones, was an influential English folk and blues songwriter, guitarist and singer, noted for his distinctive and original folk-rock guitar style and his often darkly humorous lyrics.

Early career[edit]

He first came to prominence in the Bristol folk scene in the mid-1960s, where he formed a trio with harmonica player Elliot Jackson and singer/guitarist Ian A. Anderson. They were resident performers at the Bristol Troubadour Club and frequently played at Les Cousins in London. Jones' recording debut was as part of that trio on an E.P. in 1966. He moved to London in 1968/1969 and featured on "Matchbox Days", an early Village Thing compilation of tracks by the white British "Blues Boom" artists of that period, alongside other luminaries such as Jo-Ann Kelly, John James, Mike Cooper and Dave Kelly. He made an album before moving to Cornwall, where he became reclusive. Anderson persuaded him to make a further album in 1972, "Jonesville", which featured a very early Rodney Matthews cover. Jones' reputation gained cult status in Britain and abroad, his albums becoming highly sought-after, and he occasionally emerged from his self-imposed obscurity to play gigs in Europe, particularly Belgium and Germany, where he had a particularly dedicated following.

Instrument making[edit]

His main business became manufacture of his Ashworth range of instrument pickups and he later joined with Nigel Thornbory, the guitar maker, to produce the silicone rubber-stringed Ashbory bass, which is now manufactured under license by Fender.

Re-emergence from obscurity[edit]

Colin Irwin, in fRoots magazine in 1998 wrote about Jones: "In 1991 he had a call from a friend who wanted to put on a concert, and couldn't believe it when he found himself agreeing to appear. 'I couldn't play anything at first, it had been such a long time and my fingertips had gone soft.' But on a business trip to London he got his hands on a Strat and it felt so good he couldn't put it down. Gradually he eased back into gigging and sitting in with any damn band that passed by. 'People like Wizz Jones and John Renbourn would come down and I'd play guitar with them. I remember John playing something and it sounded familiar and I said 'John I know that one!' He said 'you should do you wrote it!' He started writing again. Prolifically. Got a new acoustic guitar. And ultimately he came to record a brand new CD, Swimming Pool"

His gigs at that time were at local pubs and clubs in Cornwall and he still rarely travelled beyond the Duchy's boundary. Ian A. Anderson persuaded him, though, to record some of his more recent compositions on Anderson's Weekend Beatnik label in 1998 and a new audience began to hear his work through occasional radio plays of the album – the CD mentioned by Colin Irwin, "Swimming Pool".

In 2000 Jones recorded "A little bit of Heaven" under the band name Blues De-luxe, with fellow Cornish musician and long term friend Pete Flaskett. The album consisted of a selection of songs from the album Swimming pool as well as some new material written by Jones and Flaskett. Blues De-luxe took part in festivals and gigs around cornwall for several years.

In 2001 Mooncrest Records reissued Alun Ashworth-Jones as a double CD with numerous, previously unissued, "bonus" tracks including live recordings from April 1969 with a full electric band, and five acoustic tracks recorded in 1971.[1]

His early works were reissued in 2007 on the Castle Records label as a double CD, "All My Friends Are Back Again". Sadly, Jones died suddenly and unexpectedly on June 1, 2008 at the age of 62.[2][3]

Discography[edit]

Tracks on compilations[edit]

(*) reissued on Ace Records (UK) Big Beat label, catalogue number CDWIKD 168, in 1997
(**) tracks also available as bonus tracks on 2001 CD reissue of "Alun Ashworth-Jones"

References[edit]

External links[edit]