July 21, 1917|
Marianna, Arkansas, United States
|Died||December 19, 1989
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass guitar|
|Associated acts||Snooky Pryor, Moody Jones|
Floyd Jones (July 21, 1917 – December 19, 1989) 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 Jones' recordings are regarded as classics of the Chicago blues idiom, and his song "On The Road Again" was a top ten 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 Stockyards), "Hard Times" or "Schooldays".
Life and career
Jones was born in Marianna, Arkansas. He started playing guitar seriously after being given a guitar by Howlin' Wolf, and worked as an itinerant musician in the Arkansas and Mississippi area in the 1930s and early 1940s, before settling in Chicago in 1945.
In Chicago, Jones took up the electric guitar, and was one of a number of musicians playing on Maxwell Street and in non-union venues in the late 1940s who played an important role in the development of the post-war Chicago Blues sound. This group included Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers, both of who went on to become mainstays of the Muddy Waters band, and also Snooky Pryor, Floyd's cousin Moody Jones and mandolin player Johnny Young. His first recording session in 1947, with Snooky 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, and was 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 also had records released on JOB, Chess and Vee-Jay, and in 1966 he recorded for the Testament label's Masters of Modern Blues series.
Jones continued performing in Chicago for the rest of his life, although he had few further recording opportunities. Later in his career the electric bass became his main instrument. He died in Chicago in December 1989.
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- Rowe, M. Chicago Blues: the city and the music, New York: Da Capo Press 1981, p. 97
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- Leadbitter, M. and Slaven, N., Blues Records 1943 to 1970 Vol. 1: A-K, London: Record Information Services, 2nd Ed. 1987, pp. 736-737