Jonesy was an English symphonic/hard-rock band that released three 1972/73 albums on Dawn: No Alternative, Keeping Up…, and Growing. Material for a fourth album, Sudden Prayers Make God Jump, appeared decades later as an archival disc.
Members: John Evan-Jones (keyboards, guitar, vocals), Trevor Jones (violin, vocals, bass, keyboards, 1971, 1972-74), Bernard Hagley (saxophone, flute, 1971), Terry Cutting (drums, 1971), Jamie Kaleth (keyboards, vocals, 1971-74), Dave Potts (drums, 1971), David Paull (bass, 1972), Jim Payne (drums, 1972), Nicholas Greenwood (bass, vocals, 1972), Richard Thomas (drums, 1972-74), Alan Bown (trumpet, 1972-74)
Jonesy was formed in 1971 by guitarist John Evan-Jones and bassist Trevor “Gypsy” Jones, brothers from Faversham, Kent.
The Jones’ played in numerous bands as teens. In 1964, they moved to Australia and formed Chaos and Co., a garage rock band that had a minor local hit with “Seven Golden Daffodils.” The single’s flipside, “It Was You,” was co-written by Pete Townshend (pre-Who) and originally recorded by The Naturals.
In 1969, the brothers reconvened in London, where they briefly joined the Irish folk-psych group Anno Domini. John left for a slot in the backing band of American singer/songwriter Jake Holmes, who toured the UK that year.
The brothers formed Jonesy, a play on their surname, but Gypsy soon left the project over musical differences. By April 1972, John enlisted the rhythm section of the National Head Band: bassist David Paull and drummer Jim Payne. Chicago-born musician Jamie Kaleth, a UK resident since age ten, joined on keyboards, fresh off the short-lived Gracious spinoff Crowjane.
Jonesy signed with Dawn, the progressive division of Pye Records.
Jonesy released their debut album, No Alternative, in October 1972 on Dawn (UK) and BASF (Germany). Evan-Jones wrote four of the six songs: “Heaven,” “1958,” “Ricochet,” and the title track. Paull contributed “Pollution,” the centerpiece of side two. “Mind of the Century,” the quiet hard rocker that closes side one, is a group-written number.
Evan-Jones, who plays the EMS VCS 3 synthesizer on select passages, produced No Alternative with Bill Kennedy and engineer Andy Hendriksen, who also worked on 1972 recordings by Keith Tippett, Jericho, Stud, and the debut album by Roxy Music.
Dawn pressings of No Alternative are housed in a gatefold sleeve with intricate pencil sketches of brick urban housing. BASF copies come in a single sleeve with an old man in a pink room where, in lieu of a bed, a partial graveyard faces out to bleak tenement structures. Illustrator Tony Allen did the Dawn art, also used on the album’s French pressing (Pye, 1973). Designer
The second Jonesy album, Keeping Up…, appeared in June 1973 on Dawn (UK, NZ) and Pye (Brazil). Kaleth composed three songs on side one (“Masquerade,” “Preview,” “Questions and Answers”) and one on side two (“Song”). Evan-Jones wrote one song on the first side (“Sunset and Evening Star”) and three on the second (“Critique (With Exceptions),” “Duet,” “Children”).
Evan-Jones produced Keeping Up… at Escape Studios (Egerton, Kent) in March 1973 with engineer Tony Taverner, who also worked that year on albums by the Irish bands Planxty and Fruupp. The album features string arrangements by jazz-rock guitarist and bandleader Ray Russell (Rock Workshop, Running Man, Mouse, Chopyn).
Jonesy designed the Keeping Up… gatefold cover with photographer Barry White. It shows a rose at the end of a hanging coiled rope (front) and a b&w photo of each member (back) with liner notes by NME journalist Fred Dellar, who wrote “if I ever become known as the journalist who turned people on to Jonesy without using any hype, then I’ll have contributed something worthwhile to rock music.” The inner-spread shows a sketch of an English country oast house.
In France, Pye issued a 7″ of “Sunset and Evening Star” (b/w “Song”) on the label’s Disques Vogue P.I.P. series.
For their third album, Jonesy teamed with Rupert Hine, a recording artist just then branching into production. The resulting album, Growing, appeared in December 1973 on Dawn (UK, Japan). It’s comprised of six group-credited originals, including three Kaleth-sung numbers: “Know Who Your Friends Are,” a brisk, Leslied rocker with a slow, dreamy mid-section; and “Hard Road,” an upbeat harmony rocker-turned-funk jam.
On the two Gypsy-sung tracks, they filter Bown’s electric trumpet through an octave divider (“Can You Get That Together“) and an ARP 2600 synthesizer (“Growing”). Kaleth and Gypsy trade vocals on “Waltz For Yesterday,” an interweave of oozing guitar lines and chamber strings, arranged by (Penguin Cafe Orchestra). Growing wraps with an 11-minute track titled “Jonesy,” a fractious instrumental described in the liner notes as “a fairly free piece of music composed with an electric string section in mind.”
On Growing, Kaleth’s arsenal consists of acoustic piano, electric piano, and Mellotron. He’s augmented in parts by Ken Elliott of Second Hand, credited here with Clavinet Arp 2600. Bown plays electric flugelhorn and trumpet, joined in places by electric saxophonist (Tranquility). Additional percussion was played by Stomu Yamash’ta sideman Morris Pert, then of Sun Treader and later of Brand X.
Original copies of Growing came in a gatefold sleeve with an orange/black scheme conceived by illustrator of Design Machine. The inner-fold has a 10-column photo row of each member, which show their evolution from childhood to the slicked-back rockabilly era to the shaggy-haired present day.
In 1974, Growing was awarded the Montreux Diamond for top rock/pop album.
Sudden Prayers Make God Jump
By 1974, Jonesy was down to the two brothers. They re-entered Escape Studios a final time with drummer Dave Potts and two guests from the Growing sessions, Hagley and Elliott. They recorded six songs for a proposed album that was ultimately shelved for three decades. Gypsy and Evan-Jones produced the tracks with Burlesque, Nazareth, Zzebra, and String Driven Thing. , who went on to work with
The lost album finally appeared in 2003 as Sudden Prayers Make God Jump. The disc opens with “Dark Room,” an eight-minute piece half-consumed with madcap vocals, fractious sax, and bristling sonics — hallmarks of the album Death May Be Your Santa Claus by Elliott’s prior band. The second track, “Running,” is a galloping rocker with unison vocals over a crisp, staccato baseline, overlaid with trade-offs of confetti sax, fuzzy chords/scales, and rapidfire barrelhouse piano runs.
“Bad Dreams,” with its icy organ and fuzzy overlays, evolves from rhythm-less beginnings to a mid-paced lurch — further indicators of Elliott’s influence despite the Jones/Jones writing credits. The brothers also joint-wrote “The Lights Have Changed” and “Old Gentleman’s Relief.” The disc concludes with the Evan-Jones number “Anthem.”
Gypsy and Evan-Jones played on the 1975/76 Threshold titles From Mighty Oaks and Hopes Wishes & Dreams by Moody Blues multi-instrumentalist Ray Thomas. Also in 1976, Gypsy cut the solo single “Suzie” (b/w “Get Down”) on Dutch BASF.
Elliott overlapped his Jonesy stint with Seventh Wave, his second group with long-time partner Kieran O’Connor. They issued two electro-psych albums on Gull in 1974/75.
- No Alternative (1972)
- Keeping Up… (1973)
- Growing (1973)
- Sudden Prayers Make God Jump (2003, recorded 1974)
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