Paul Jones

The Paul Jones Collection Vol. 1: My Way

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Jones' debut album, 1966's My Way, found him and/or his record company seemingly determined to follow a far more all-around pop entertainer sound than Paul had trodden as the lead singer of Manfred Mann. Such strategies rarely yield fruitful results, and that was the case here, with a set list that, in trying to please everybody, came up short all around. Much of it is big-ballad pop in a sub-Tom Jones sort of style, and R&B/blues influences are, incredibly, virtually absent. Jones does manage to sneak in a few of his own songs (including an inferior remake of one he had done with the Manfreds, "She Needs Company"), but these are hardly exceptional. Coming on the heels of the Manfred Mann era, the bloated British orchestral-pop arrangements -- more suited to Petula Clark (but not as good as Petula's) -- were disappointing indeed, yet the album did yield a big British hit with "High Time." The CD reissue improves things considerably with the addition of nine bonus cuts from the same era, taken from EPs, singles, and unreleased tracks. These are highlighted by the EP versions of "Privilege" and "Free Me" (the latter reworked by Patti Smith in the mid-'70s), although be aware that this is not the same version of "Free Me" as the one on the soundtrack to the Privilege film. There's also Jones' second and last U.K. Top Ten hit, "I've Been a Bad, Bad Boy," as well as an unexpected blast of pure blues with the B-side "Sonny Boy Williamson," co-written by Jack Bruce, who also plays bass on the song.

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