Jim Jones Revue – Burning Your House Down

January 01, 1970

(Punk Rock Blues/Burnside)




Burning Your House
, the third disk from the Jim Jones Revue, is not only the best record
by the band (including last year’s self-titler), but the best record the
titular hero has released in his long career. Jones has made plenty of solid
albums with his prior acts Thee Hypnotics and Black Moses, and has always been
Mr. Excitement on stage. But, just as the JJR finally fits together all the
pieces of the rock & roll puzzles Jones loves, so does Burning Your House Down near-perfectly encapsulate what the band is
all about.


To oversimplify, the Revue combines the wildest impulses of
the original wave of rock & roll in the ‘0s with the Detroit/New York power
rock that (should have) ruled in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, while never forgetting
the music’s R&B roots. (A good alternate name for this band would be Little
Richard & the Stooges.) Melding riffs, muscle and roaring sexuality into a
powerhouse package that doesn’t shirt on brains or agility, the band rips
through the songs with feral grace, like a tiger taking down a kill. Drummer
Nick Jones and bassist Gavin Jay keep a swing in their step, even when kicking
down the door, and pianist Elliot Mortimer breathes old-fashioned boogie-woogie
wind into the storm. Jim Jones and Rupert Orton splatter six-string paint all
over the walls, but it’s not indiscriminate mortar fire – there’s a precision
to every lick and solo.


Of course, the music really belongs to Jones and his gritty,
soulful blare – if there’s a vocalist more emblematic of the spirit of rock
& roll right now, we haven’t heard him. (Wayne Kramer should give him a
call next time he tours the DTK-MC5.) Producer Jim Scalvunos of the Bad Seeds
organizes the chaos just enough to be accessible, without compromising an ounce
of the band’s tornado energy.


Jones’ tunes will never be mistaken for the work of a Bob
Dylan or Elvis Costello acolyte, of course. But there’s a lyrical acumen not
unlike the winking wit of Lemmy Kilmister driving the libretto of “Killin’
Spree,” “Dishonest John” and the title track. And with catchy-as-hell hooks
like the ones powering “Shoot First,” “High Horse” and “Elemental,” it’s hard
to give much of a shit about the words anyway.


Mind you, this record isn’t the equal of a JJR show – this
is possibly the greatest live rock & roll band currently invading stages.
But Burning Your House Down is still
a corker of a rock record and more than worth your time and attention.



First,” “Elemental,” “Killin’ Spree” MICHAEL

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