Not given to rote performances of his material, Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones was a passionate, fiery singer and an absolutely brilliant guitar player whose early-'50s sides for Art Rupe's Specialty Records label (collected here by the Japanese P-Vine reissue label) still crackle out of the speakers with a ragged intensity 50 years later. Recorded between 1953 and 1955 in New Orleans with Lloyd Lambert's band (and Ray Charles sitting in on piano), Jones delivered explosive classics like "Things That I Used to Do," "The Story of My Life," "Sufferin' Mind," and "Quicksand," single-handedly inventing a distortion-ridden guitar tone that prefigured Jimi Hendrix and the great blues and rock lead guitar players of the 1960s. His singing was equally as wild, and the gospel-like passion at work in these tracks is perfectly matched by the loose-limbed feel of Lambert's band, particularly tenor saxophonist Joe Tillman, who goes toe to toe with Jones' guitar lines. Jones' later work for Atlantic never rose to this kind of fevered pitch, so make sure that whatever Guitar Slim collection you pick up contains his Specialty tracks.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett