Although they were together off and on in different stints since they formed as the Nighthawks in 1962, blues trio Frank Frost(harmonica, piano, organ), Sam Carr (drums), and Big Jack Johnson (guitar) has had a relatively sparse recording history. They began calling themselves the Jelly Roll Kings in 1979, but the music remained the same stripped-down, no-frills version of juke joint blues that reimported the Chicago blues format back to the Delta and gave it a swampy spin. Off Yonder Wall was another reunion of sorts for the trio. The album was recorded in 1996 by blues enthusiast Robert Palmer (author of a popular blues history called Deep Blues) and was released on Mississippi's Fat Possum Records a year later, chock-full of spunky blues, most of it done at a quick tempo and anchored by Johnson's aggressive guitar playing and ragged vocals. Frost, who is probably best known for his incendiary harmonica playing, only features the instrument on one track here, and likewise only takes one lead vocal. His swirling, subtle organ work, though, gives the trio a surprisingly thick, punchy sound, and of course, Carr drives it all home. Among the highlights here are "Frank Frost Blues," "So Lonesome," the funky "Fat Back," and the driving, live-sounding closer, "I'm a Big Boy Now," but the whole album is one big swampy blues romp that is of a piece with the rest of their recorded output, whether you call them the Nighthawks or the Jelly Roll Kings.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett