Billy Cadieux - guitar, vocals; David Tolmie - bass, lead vocals; Gary Kollarus - drums
With only one highly collectible 1970 album to their credit, Great Jones, as the liner notes to their LP declared, was an odd combination. This hard driving rock and blues trio featured Billy Cadieux, a fiery jazz-loving guitar player, ex-folky bassist and gutsy lead vocalist, David Tolmie and blues-breaking drummer, Gary Kollarus. This Brooklyn based band became part of the scene revolving around legendary R&B producer, Jerry Ragavoy's Hit Factory Studios in New York City, which is where they met up with keyboardist and songwriter, Jeff Gutcheon. Then an apprentice at the Hit Factory, Gutcheon had worked extensively with Geoff and Maria Muldaur and not only contributed piano and organ tracks to Great Jones' album sessions, but also penned the title song, "All Bowed Down."
Following the release of their album, Great Jones was invited to open two high profile evenings at Bill Graham's Fillmore East, kicking off a bill that also featured Delaney & Bonnie & Friends (then with Eric Clapton on board) and headliners, the Byrds. These were very high profile gigs, where the band would be playing before one of the most discriminating audiences in the rock world. Despite the intimidating lineup, Great Jones rose to the challenge, delivering impressive performances both nights of the run.
Unlike the previous night, when keyboardist Jeff Gutcheon sat in, this September 12th recording features the core trio in all their blazing glory. Again, Great Jones' set is based heavily on the album material, but on this second night, four of the seven songs are different than the previous night's set list.
Beginning with an undulating "No More" that segues into a bone-crunching take on "Leaving Trunk," this serves as a great example of the prototype Great Jones sound, a combination of hard rock infused with the blues and a touch of psychadelia. Billy Cadieux goes for a blazing overdriven guitar sound that rarely lets up. This is a good thing as Cadieux has the chops and creativity and an abundance of catchy riffs in his arsenal. Both Tolmie and Kollarus propel the band with Tolmie's gritty and forceful vocals full of fire.
They continue with a thoroughly original arrangement of Richard and Mimi Farina's "One Way Ticket" (a song they mistakenly titled "Leaving California" on the album), before continuing with a fiery reading of Bessie Smith's "You've Been a Good Old Wagon." The recording also features the highly improvisational "United State Of Mind" before concluding with an incomplete "Finding My Way" prior to the tape stock running out.
For those who enjoyed the band's performance from the previous night (also available here in Wolfgang's) this recording captures even more of the blazing hard rock of Great Jones during their Fillmore East debut.