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Off Yonder Wall
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Album: Off Yonder Wall
# Song Title   Time
1)    Frank Frost Blues
2)    That's Alright Mama
3)    Look over Yonder Wall
4)    So Lonesome
5)    Baby Please Don't Go
6)    Fishin' Musician
7)    Fat Back
8)    Sitting on Top of the World
9)    Have Mercy Baby
10)    I'm a Big Boy Now
 
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Jelly Roll Kings: Big Jack Johnson (vocals, guitar); Frank Frost (vocals, harmonica, keyboards); Sam Carr (drums).
  • Additional personnel: Terry Jackson
  • Personnel: Big Jack Johnson (vocals, guitar); Frank Frost (vocals, harp, keyboards); Terry Jackson (guitar); Sam Carr (drums).
  • Audio Mixer: Robbie Norris.
  • Photographers: Ron Keith; Bill Stever; Bill Steber.
  • 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. ~ Steve Leggett
Professional Reviews
JazzTimes (6/97, p.104) - "The Jellyroll Kings deal in gritty juke joint splendor....this all-the-way-raw collection highlights...spontaneous interaction and real deal abandon....authentic feel and unbounded enthusiasm..."

Option (7-8/97, pp.112-113) - "...The charms of OFF YONDER WALL outweigh all the negatives....doesn't pretend to be anything that it's not. It's blues, plain and simple...sloppily true to the heart of the music."

Musician (3/97, p.90) - "...The Jelly Roll Kings...know how to groove....They also know how to get low-down, psychedelic, demented and sweaty, which brings out the best in Johnson's often whimsical musical imagination on guitar. All three of them deserve to be a much bigger deal..."
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