Paul Jones - Crucifix In A Horseshoe

Paul Jones
Crucifix In A Horseshoe

Released 1971 on Vertigo
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 02/04/2001ce

Paul Jones ( real name Paul Pond ) was a certified Pop star in the UK in the mid 60's as lead singer with Manfred Mann and then briefly as a solo artist following his role as Steven Shorter in the great youth culture film "Privilege" in 1966. After a his initial solo success his career began a slow and steady decline to where at a point in the late 60's some of his records were released only in Sweden. This seemed quite odd because Jones' had talent to burn, he possessed a superb voice that sounded at times like both David Bowie and Peter Hammill ( a little known fact is that Jones was once asked to be lead singer for The Rolling Stones prior to Mick Jagger joining ). Arthur Lee of Love has been quoted many times as being a major Paul Jones fan.

Paul 's first 3 solo album's "My Way", "Love Me, Love My Friends" and "Come Into My Music Box" all have some brilliant moments and are worth buying "Come Into My Music Box" being my favorite. Also look out for his 1968 single version of The Bee Gee's "And The Sun Will Shine" and it's sizzling freakbeat B-Side "The Dog Presides". But by 1971 Paul's career was in ashes, he did however manage to squeek out a final album "Crucifix In A Horseshoe" on the progressive Vertigo label ( on London in the States ) before dropping out of music for several years.
"Crucifix" is a great if somewhat understated record that pays numerous dividends with each listening. Side One begins with the Lp's lone 45 "Life After Death" which is a rousing Bowie sounding bit of blue eyed soul that could have hit if it were played on the radio which it wasn't. Coming next is a knockout version of Loudon Wainwright's "Motel Blues" ( also done by Big Star ) this is a haunting tale of a burnt out Rock and Roller stranded out on the road in some American outpost, it has some really nice guitar and organ touches and dynamite backing vocals by the late Vicki Sue Robinson of "Turn The Beat Around" fame. "And You Say I'm Too Dependent On My Mind" is a blusey funky piece that has a real Peter Hammill sound circa "Fool's Mate". The first side ends with a rather bizarre country-ish thing called "Construction Worker's Song" that would have not sounded out of place on the "Easy Rider" soundtrack.

Side 2 picks things up with "Song ( For Stan Stunning And The Noodle Queen )" whatever that is, it is in fact a lovely Bowie sounding number that really shows off Paul's impressive pipes. "The Pod That Came Back" has a blues/funk feel with traces of soul and it swings pretty nicely.
Next in line is "The Mighty Ship" which sounds like vintage 1966 Manfred Mann, this was the flipside to the failed "Life After Death" 45 and was equally potent. The record ends with 2 stunners, first is "Who Are The Masters" which again has a Peter Hammill sound that also sounds like a dead ringer for something off Family's "Entertainment" LP and what's that I hear? a kinda Doorsy keyboard riff and "Soft Parade" era horns!, Out Of Sight!!!

"Crucifix" saves the best for last with "Strangely Human Sound" which was co-written by someone named Rupert Holmes ( could this be the same cat who had a fluke USA hit with the truly awful "Pina Colada Song"? ), no matter either way because it's a haunting brilliant song that once again recalls vintage Family this time their "Music In A Doll's House" album, the track fades with eerie sound effects of a windstorm in the autumn.

You know looking at the back cover photo of "Crucifix" right now it looks quite similar to the back cover photo on Julian Cope's "World Shut Your Mouth" album, could it be that Julian is a secret Paul Jones freak? ( I sure hope so! ).

"Crucifix In A Horseshoe" has been recently re-issued on UK label RPM as part of their super "Paul Jones Collection" series with great liner notes and bonus tracks, please get a copy and join me as PAUL JONES FREAKS UNITE!!!!.

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