Album review: Kelly Jones - Don’t Let The Devil Take Another Day
- Credit: Archant
Jones recrafts his songs in the live arena with touches of brass, strings and piano.
From feisty ‘90s Brit-rockers to FM juggernauts, Stereophonics have sold more than 8.5 million albums here in the UK alone. But what does DLTDTAD add to the ‘Phonics canon that 2006’s Live From Dakota didn’t? Well, quite a lot.
Jones embarked on a tour last year – badged as a solo outing but with a band of multi-instrumentalists – performing a slew of ‘Phonics faves plus two cuts from his 2007 solo LP, rearranged to varying extents.
Clocking in at just under two hours (and curiously omitting the song from which it takes its name), the record is sprinkled with anecdotes which won’t be new to hardcore fans, but do serve to realign our focus on the context, origin and inspiration of some of the band’s biggest hits.
It opens with a tender, slow rendition of Hurry Up And Wait, led by piano with Jones’ guitar strums just audible above. It’s preceded by a tale of his first exposure to music, listening through the bathroom door to his brothers playing Dylan, The Eagles and Neil Young on a ghetto blaster.
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Jones also reminisces about his kinship and misadventures with late drummer Stuart Cable, including an anecdote about them in Keith Richards’ dressing room, which serves to add bite to the tender tribute Before Anyone Knew Our Name.
The band’s debut single Local Boy In The Photograph, sparsely arranged and gently sung, is all the sadder for the passage of time, while versions of more recent cuts like the reflective Boy On A Bike and This Life Ain’t Easy (But It’s The One That We All Got) sound all the better for losing their deadening studio sheen – as does a disarmingly raw semi-acoustic take of Maybe Tomorrow.
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A cover of Kris Kristofferson’s Help Me Make It Through The Night also features; Jones’ performer dad sang it to him as a child, and here Jones appropriates that legacy, building from downcast strums to a climax of dramatic piano and moving, throaty blasts.
Elsewhere, swooning violin, gentle piano and a touch of lap steel guitar helps You’re My Star pull harder on the heartstrings, and smoky trumpet solos add interest to I Stopped To Fill My Car Up and character to Mr Writer.
Where this set really succeeds is in casting a good few songs in a new light and releasing others from the shackles of the production desk.