Jake Jones were a misrepresented band; not country rock but a full-on progressive rock outfit from the Midwest.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Jake Jones
ALBUM: Different Roads
LABEL: Kapp Records
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Mike Krenski – bass, vocals * Chuck Sabatino – vocals, flute, recorder * Joey Marshall – electric and acoustic guitar, pedal steel * Phil Jost – piano, hammond organ, moog, tenor sax, accordion, chimes, guitars, pipe organ, vocals * Jim Bilderrback – percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 I’ll See You Through * 02 Of No Concern * 03 When Your Brother * 04 Motherly Comfort * 05 A Suite From The Court Jester * 06 Speak To Me Lady * 07 Child Child * 08 It’s Only Love You Know * 09 Different Roads
A crying shame Jake Jones isn’t better known among progressive rock fans, but judging by the country bumpkin ‘sure do got a pretty mouth’ cover photo, it’s easy to understand why they’ve been so overlooked. Trust me when I say outside of a little twang here and there, country rock this is not, although the band did hail from the Midwest, St Louis to be exact. Smack dab in the middle of an embryonic prog scene that would break out of the amber waves of grain just a few short years later.
They recorded two albums for Kapp Records, both released in 1971 and they toured extensively with Poco, James Gang, Dan Fogelberg and the Eagles although neither album sold significantly, finally calling it a day in 1973.
What Jake Jones deliver is a hybrid sound. Think Styx and Sugarloaf with a sprinkling of Procol Harum and while there’s a general lack of power on ‘Different Roads’, Jake Jones offer up a delectable sophomore album that AOR fans can definitely find solace with.
The delicate ‘I’ll See You Through’ will no doubt bring to mind a laid-back Styx and the same can be said for the three-part ‘A Suite For The Court Jester’ which beat the windy city boys ‘Movement For The Common Man’ to the punch by a year.
Side two’s ‘Speak To Me Lady’ evokes both The Beatles and Sugarloaf, two names you almost never see together in the same sentence. But that’s the beauty of Jake Jones, playing British influenced proggy pop in the days Dorothy and fly-over country was all the word Kansas meant to the teeming masses.
The Procol Harum-ish organ and the pompy vibe of ‘It’s Only Love You Know’ is both precious and exhilarating, getting my sure fire vote as the album’s best tune, although the closing title track is a rather average instrumental and nothing to write mama about. Still, ‘Different Roads’ is a great album and if you dig any of the references above, grab a copy, sit back and enjoy.
Vocalist Chuck Sabatino and guitarist Joey Marshall re-grouped in the late 70s as A Full Moon Consort, releasing one good indie album ‘The Men In The Moon’ in 1977. Sabatino went on to play with Michael McDonald before passing away in 1996.
Keyboardist Phil Jost appeared with former Steely Dan/Big Whakoo vocalist David Palmer as a duo on the ‘Fast Times At Ridgemont High’ soundtrack with the song ‘She’s My Baby (And She’s Outta Control)’. He also popped up on albums from Gamma and Kansas as assistant engineer as well as a short stint as a member of Missing Persons.