Jon Cleary – Go Go Juice (Rating 4 out of 5)
It seems pretty much fitting that Go Go Juice the latest album from Jon Cleary was released on the 10th anniversary of hurricane Katrina. New Orleans resident by way of the U.K. Cleary wasn’t born in The Crescent City, but it seems he got there as fast as he could. From the opening drum lines of “Pump it Up,” the influence is showing through every pore of his musical being on a song that sounds like some sort of demon mix of Van Morrison, Harry Connick Jr., and Robert Palmer. Read that last sentence again, listen to the song, and tell us we’re wrong.
On “Boneyard,” the horn arrangements kick in that also happen to be masterfully arranged by Allen Toussaint, a touch that reaches almost Memphis horns proportions on “Beg, Steal or Borrow,” which is pound for pound probably the best song on the record. The kinda sorta title track, “Getcha Go Go Juice” is pure New Orleans Meters style, Mardi Gras fun.
“Love on One Condition,” a terrific song that seems somewhat lost and buried as the last track on the l.p., has a pretty much spot-on 70’s Robert Palmer vibe going on, and 9-5 is about as funky as it gets this side of the mother ship.
This is a prime quality, no stems or seeds album that takes the old school New Orleans vibe and transports it into the new millennium effortlessly. Here’s hoping Jon Cleary will ditch his regular gig with Bonnie Raitt and give us more of this New Orleans Gumbo Soul. At nine songs long, the listener is definitely left wanting more. A lot more.