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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'The Way It Is: 25 Years Of Solo Adventures' [3CD]
Artist - Edgar Jones

For those unware, The Way It Is: 25 Years Of Solo Adventures is the first ever collection of solo works by Edgar Jones, leader of Liverpool cult heroes, The Stairs.

On this quite mesmerizingly authentic 3CD retrospective, the versatile Jones (who has played bass for Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, St. Etienne And The La’s) mixes jazz, R&B, soul, blues, rock and ska into his musical gumbo.

It also features rarities by Jones’ garage bands The Isrites and The Big Kids, previously only released physically on a CD limited to just 50 copies.

The Big Kids included drummer Sean Payne and bassist Russ Pritchard, who later formed The Zutons, and guitarist Howie Payne, who started The Stands.

The discs include tracks from the Mercury Music Prize nominated albums Soothing Music For Stray Cats (2005) and The Masked Marauder (2008) as well as Gettin’ A Little Help… From “The Joneses” (2007), The Edgar Jones Free Peace Thing (2011), Sense Of Harmony (2012), Morphic Fields (2013) and The Song Of Day And Night (2017).

Being that Edgar’s album Soothing Music For Stray Cats was an innovative blend of jazz, soul, R&B and rock ’n’ roll recorded on an eight track cassette portastudio donated to Jones by legendary former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, it's no wonder that this entire collection has a delightful "lived in" vibe about it.

Indeed, Oasis legend, Noel Gallagher (who Edgar's heavy blues rock project The Edgar Jones Free Peace Thing were hand-picked by Noel to support Oasis on their 2009 European tour), said of the album: “It bent my head, man. It’s probably one of the best records I have ever heard…”.

Disc One:
1. 'Don't Break My Heart'
2. 'More Than You've Ever Had' (With The Joneses)
3. 'Wait!'
4. 'What Are We Gonna Do?'
5. 'Seven Years'
6. 'It's No Good'
7. 'Freedom'
8. 'Baby If You Wannit' (With The Joneses)
9. 'Mellow Down Pussycat' (With The Joneses)
10. 'Necessary Evil (With The Joneses)
11. 'Keeps A Rollin' Round My Head'
12. 'I Don't Wanna See You Go' (As The Isrites)
13. 'I’m Bored' (As The Isrites)
14. 'Up To No Good Again' (As The Big Kids)
15. 'Lies'
16. 'Honey Bear'
17. 'On And On'
18. 'Beep Beep'
19. 'What's A Boy To Do?'
20. 'I Would Do Anything'
21. 'Best Thing'
22. 'Sunshine'
23. 'Stubborn Mule Blues'
24. 'Hot Potatoes' (As The Big Kids)
25. 'Soothing Music For Stray Cats'

Disc One opens on the funky foot-tappin' beauty 'Don't Break My Heart,' the Motown-inspired 'More Than You've Ever Had' (with The Joneses), the drum-led rhythms of 'Wait!' and both the free flowing 'What Are We Gonna Do?' and the absolutely stunning lo-fi, finger-snappin' roar of 'Seven Years,' and simply never lets up thereafter.

Other stand outs include the reggae blast 'Mellow Down Pussycat' and the late night, high hat hipsway of 'Necessary Evil' (both again with The Joneses), and the brilliant guitar work of 'I'm Bored' (as The Isrites).

Disc Two:
1. 'Revolving All Around You'
2. 'I'm Bored' (As The Big Kids)
3. 'Keep It On' (As The Isrites)
4. 'Hey Joseph' (2008 Radio Session)
5. 'Big Eyed Boo'
6. 'Do Doh Dontcha Doh'
7. 'She Dunno'
8. 'Too Much Baby' (As The Big Kids)
9. 'Standing On The Verge of Getting By'
10. 'All The Things You Are'
11. 'Thinkin' Bout The Time'
12. 'I Don't Need Your Roses' (As The Edgar Jones Free Peace Thing)
13. 'Hey hey Now Now' (As The Big Kids)
14. 'Serendipity Doo'
15. 'For A Moment' (As The Big Kids)
16. 'No Reverse Gear Blues' (As The Edgar Jones Free Peace Thing)
17. 'Bye And By'
18. 'Tell Me About It brother'
19. 'Sense Of Wonder'
20. 'You'll Always Get Just What You Want' (As The Big Kids)
21. 'Shake It Loose' (As The Edgar Jones Free Peace Thing)
22. 'Good Luvin'' (As The Edgar Jones Free Peace Thing)
23. 'More Soothing Music For Stray Cats'

The second disc opens with the psychedlic trip of 'Revolving All Around You,' another 'I'm Bored' (this time as The Big Kids), a translucent 'Keep It On' (as The Isrites), and both the fun 2008 radio session cut 'Hey Joseph' and the atmospheric 'Big Eyed Boo,' before bringing forth more beloved cuts such as the sweeping 'All The Things You Are' and one of my all-time favorites, the frenetically electrified brilliance of 'Shake It Loose' (as The Edgar Jones Free Peace Thing).

Disc Three:
1. 'The Way It is' (With The Joneses)
2. 'Stop Messin'' (As The Isrites)
3. 'We Should Get Together' (With The Joneses)
4. 'Need For Lovin'' (With The Joneses)
5. 'Messin' Up' (As The Big Kids)
6. 'Statistical Nightmare' (As The Edgar Jones Free Peace Thing)
7. 'Catnip'
8. 'Tenderly'
9. 'You Better Watch Your Back' (With The Joneses) 10. 'Talk About It'
11. '(Ain't Gonna Be Your) Fool No More' (With The Joneses)
12. 'More Than You've Ever Had'
13. 'It Can Only Be You'
14. 'You Want Me To Want You Back' (Live 2007)
15. 'You Know You Can Do It'
16. 'Sad Today' (As The Big Kids)
17. 'No Time To Lose' (As The Big Kids)
18. 'Sunday Afternoon'
19. 'Wishing Well?'
20. 'Gonna Miss You When You're Gone'
21. 'Shirt Prayer for the Emancipation of The Deserved Parts 1 & 2' (With The Joneses)
22. 'La Cancion Del Dia Y De Noche'

The third and final disc brings together a host of lovely gems from Jones, none more so (in my book, at least) than the Hendrix-esque duo 'Stop Messin' and 'Statistical Nightmare' (both as The Isrites), the swingin' soul vibe of 'You Want Me To Want You Back' (live in 2003), and also the eight minute piano and stand up bass masterpiece 'Short Prayer For The Emancipation Of The Deserved, Pt. 1 & Pt. 2' (with The Joneses).

Compiled and Annotated by Edgar Jones himself with Mojo magazine’s Lois Wilson, the accompanying booklet features their notes alongside rare photos and gig flyers.