Bobby Jonz (Obituary)

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"Innocent Til Proven Guilty"

Bobby Jonz (Obituary)

Composed by Kirk Landry and Michael Lockett


July 23, 2020: Obituary

Bobby Jonz Dies

Bobby Jonz passed away on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at Veteran’s Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jonz was a victim of the COVID-19 virus. He was 84.

Many longtime southern soul fans came upon Bobby Jonez through the song "Lee 'Shot' Stole My Freak," one of the "response" songs generated by Lee "Shot" Williams' turn-of-the-century trilogy of "freak" songs ("Somebody's After My Freak," "She Made A Freak Out Of Me," and "Somebody Blew The Whistle On Me").

The song was released on a small label, Red Dot, and quickly fell back into obscurity. However, the strength of the vocal, despite its seemingly "tossed-off," spoken delivery, introduced many new fans to perhaps the most muscular vocalist in Southern Soul.

Jonz was a member of a stratum of singers one could best call "interpreters." Along with such singers as Chuck Roberson, Bill Coday, and Rue Davis, Jonz's song catalog was specifically built around his live audience's day-to-day tastes (what they wanted to hear on a particular Saturday night). Thus his career featured a kind of chameleon-like picture of Southern Soul music.

Jonz' signature songs, "Innocent Til Proven Guilty" and "In The Mood For Love" from the album In The Mood For Love, stood above all that, however. They were Jones' claim to fame and became chitlin' circuit classics.

Listen to Bobby Jonz singing "Innocent Until Proven Guilty".

Listen to Bobby Jonz singing "In The Mood For Love" on YouTube.

Originally written by Kirk Landry and Michael Lockett for young artist Kenne' Wayne and first recorded on Wayne's Old Fashion Love CD, "In The Mood For Love" was nevertheless transformed into a vehicle of even more depth and excitement in the reworking by Jonz, whose high-energy vocals lent a cold-water-in-the-face immediacy to almost any song he covered.

Bobby Jones (Bobby Jonz) was born in Farmerville, Louisiana in 1936 and moved to Chicago in 1959. In the 60's he recorded for many labels (Vee-Jay, TMP-Ting, Expo, USA, Kack, including an album for Expo, and in the 70's and 80's Jonez continued his label hopping (Lionel, Kap, Crooked Road, Capri, Adam, Top Hit, Dispo, Expansion, S.O.L.V. and Fantasy), including the CD entitled Thought You Were Loving Me in 1982. Jones performed in many of the popular clubs of the day on the South side of Chicago including Pepper's Lounge, Theresa's and the Trocadero, but his first big break came when he was asked to replace Junior Wells in the Aces.

Many years passed before he re-emerged as a bonafide Southern Soul artist in 1997 with his well-received album, In The Mood For Love on the now defunct Ace Records label. He followed it up with Bobby Jonz Sings Country on Avanti in 1998 and Your Freak Is Here on Big Bidness in 1999.

Other Bobby Jonz albums, self-produced for small labels, followed in the new millenium, but none were of the quality of the masterful In The Mood For Love. Among his finer late-career releases was You Ain't Got No Proof, which found Jones, along with instrumental track impresario Eric "Smidi" Smith, returning to a Southern Soul style. In recent years Jonz fronted a blues band---The Mannish Boys---that played the casinos in Las Vegas, where he also appeared with respected bluesman Kenny Neal.

Bobby Jonz' Discography:

1982: Thought You Were Loving Me (Expansion)

1997: In the Mood for Love (Ace)

1998: Bobby Jonz Sings Country (Avanti)

1999: Your Freak Is Here (Big Bidness)

2003: (approx): Lee Shot Stole My Freak (Red Dot)

2009: Comin' Back Hard (Delta Groove)

2010: You Ain't Got No Proof

****************
SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide
*****************

March 1, 2011: NEW ALBUM ALERT

Bargain-Priced You Ain't Got No Proof CD, MP3's
YOU AIN'T GOT NO PROOF finds Bobby Jones (along with writers/producers Pete Peterson, Eric Smith and Mist Lundy), returning to a much-awaited and intriguing, Southern Soul style.

Recommended Singles: "Stick A Fork In Me," "Wife And Sister"

Sample You Ain't Got No Proof CD, MP3's

****************

The new CD follows on the heels of Jones' well-received blues outing:

Bargain-Priced Comin' Back Hard CD, MP3's (2009)

(COMIN' BACK HARD features Delta Groove Records' blues artists THE MANNISH BOYS).

MUSICIANS
Bobby Jones: vocals
Finis Tasby: vocals (10)
Al Blake: harmonica (3, 6)
Randy Chortkoff: harmonica (4, 10)
Lynwood Slim: harmonica (9)
Kirk "Eli" Fletcher: lead guitar (1, 8 ? 1st solo), rhythm guitar (2, 8)
Franck Goldwasser: lead guitar (2, 8, 2nd solo), rhythm guitar (1, 4, 8)
Kid Ramos: lead guitar (4, 7, 9, 10, 11)
Junior Watson: lead guitar (5), rhythm guitar (3)
Fred Kaplan: piano (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11), Hammond B-3 (5, 7)
Tom Leavey: electric bass (4, 7)
Ronnie James Weber: upright bass (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11), electric bass (1)
Richard "Big Foot" Innes: drums
David "Woody" Woodford: tenor sax (3, 5)
Cynthia Manley: background vocals (3)
Jessica Williams: background vocals (3)

Comparison-Priced Comin' Back Hard CD, MP3's (2009)

*************

See "Tidbits" below for the latest updates on Bobby Jonez, who also records under the name Bobby Jones.

To automatically link to Bobby Jonez' charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other references, go to "Jonez, Bobby" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.

*************

Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique:

Your Daddy B. Nice first came upon Bobby Jonez through the song "Lee 'Shot' Stole My Freak," one of the "response" songs generated by Lee "Shot" Williams' turn-of-the-century trilogy of "freak" songs ("Somebody's After My Freak," "She Made A Freak Out Of Me," and "Somebody Blew The Whistle On Me").

"Anybody out there seen old Lee 'Shot' Williams?
If you see him, tell him I'm mad as hell. . .

"We've been friends for many, many years.
Seen each other through the heartaches and tears.
I trusted him with my life,
My home, my car, my dog and my wife.

"But he's gone and done it now.
Hurt me bad, so to speak.
Lee 'Shot' stole my freak.
Lee 'Shot' stole my freak."

The song was released on a small label, Red Dot, and quickly fell back into obscurity. However, the strength of the vocal, despite its seemingly "tossed-off," spoken delivery, introduced many new fans to perhaps the most muscular vocalist in Southern Soul.

With the notable exception of 1997's self-penned "In The Mood For Love," Jonz is a member of a stratum of singers one could best call "interpreters." Along with such singers as Chuck Roberson, Bill Coday, and Rue Davis, Jonz's song catalog is specifically built around his live audience's day-to-day tastes (what they want to hear on a particular Saturday night). Thus his career features a kind of chameleon-like picture of Southern Soul music over the period of the last decade.

"Innocent Til Proven Guilty" stands above all that, however. It is Jonz' indisputable claim to fame and one of the finest Southern Soul songs of the last twenty years.

Originally written by Kirk Landry and Michael Lockett for young artist Kenne' Wayne and first recorded on Wayne's Old Fashion Love CD, the song is nevertheless transformed into a vehicle of even more depth and excitement in the hands of Bobby Jonz, whose high-energy vocals lend a cold-water-in-the-face immediacy to almost any song he covers.

"I was subpoenaed today
By the court of Love.
For a crime they'd said I'd done,
Sneaking around on my baby's love.

The penalty for this crime
Is enough to make me lose my mind.
They said I'd have to lose my baby
For the rest of my lifetime."

Featured on the 1997 CD In The Mood For Love, whose title track was itself a hit on the Southeast's "beach music" circuit, Jonz's "Innocent Til Proven Guilty" possesses the clarity of a latter-day Lou Rawls--a precise and polished vocal technique that nevertheless teems with emotion.

"The jury is about to convict me,
And your friend Anna May
Is seated on the front row.
How do you expect me to get a fair trial?
I might as well go home,
Pack my bags and say good-bye."

Jonz's career has lost some momentum and focus since 97's In The Mood For Love. While he's rumored to have produced as many as six CD's since In The Mood, only two of them have been distributed nationally, and one of those was country-western.

But the work of Bobby Jonz has become part of the canon of Southern Soul. "Innocent Til Proven Guilty" comes very close to the luminous quality of Ronnie Lovejoy's classic, "Sho' Wasn't Me," which is about the highest praise a lover of Southern Soul can give.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Bobby Jonz (Obituary)

Bobby Jones (Bobby Jonez) was born in Farmerville, Louisiana in 1936 and moved to Chicago in 1959. In the 60's he recorded for many labels (Vee-Jay, TMP-Ting, Expo, USA, Kack, including an album for Expo, and in the 70's and 80's Jonez continued his label hopping (Lionel, Kap, Crooked Road, Capri, Adam, Top Hit, Dispo, Expansion, S.O.L.V. and Fantasy), including the CD entitled Thought You Were Loving Me in 1982. Jones performed in many of the popular clubs of the day on the South side of Chicago including Pepper's Lounge, Theresa's and the Trocadero, but his first big break came when he was asked to replace Junior Wells in the Aces.

Many years passed before he re-emerged as a bona fide Southern Soul artist in 1997 with his well-received album, In The Mood For Love on the now defunct Ace Records label. He followed it up with Bobby Jonz Sings Country on Avanti in 1998 and Your Freak Is Here on Big Bidness in 1999.

"Innocent Til Proven Guilty" from the In The Mood For Love CD has become a chitlin' circuit classic, a "golden oldie" of Southern Soul.

Other Bobby Jonz albums, self-produced for small labels, have followed in the new millenium, but none have been of the quality of the masterful In The Mood For Love.

In recent years Jonz has fronted a blues band--The Mannish Boys--that has played the casinos in Las Vegas, where he's also appeared with respected bluesman Kenny Neal.

Discography:

1982: Thought You Were Loving Me (Expansion)

1997: In the Mood for Love (Ace)

1998: Bobby Jonz Sings Country (Avanti)

1999: Your Freak Is Here (Big Bidness)

2003: (approx): Lee Shot Stole My Freak (Red Dot)

2009: Comin' Back Hard (Delta Groove)

2010: You Ain't Got No Proof






Song's Transcendent Moment

"Girl, you know I love you so.
No, I'm not ashamed to be down on my knees,
If it will help you see,
I'm innocent until proven guilty.
And I don't want to lose your love."


Tidbits

1.

May 24, 2008: Author's Forward

I have added some hard-to-get Bobby Jonz albums to this page: Bobby Jonz Sings Country, Your Freak Is Here, and Lee Shot Stole My Freak. The latter remains not only out of print but out of sight. The two former discs, however, are out of print but still accessible, and I've constructed links to All Music Guide so that Bobby Jonz fans can sample the songs and even buy used copies, if they so wish. In addition, I've added a link to the out-of-print Kings & Queens Of Ace compilation from which the Jonz song "Love Mission" is taken. In sum, these sound samples should give the Bobby Jonz fan a much better overview of the artist's material than I was able to previously provide.

DBN


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual," you'll love Bobby Jonz' "Innocent Til Proven Guilty."


Honorary "B" Side

"In The Mood For Love"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Innocent Til Proven Guilty by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
Innocent Til Proven Guilty


CD: In The Mood For Love
Label: Ace

Sample or Buy
In The Mood For Love


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy In The Mood For Love by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
In The Mood For Love


CD: In The Mood For Love
Label: Ace

Sample or Buy
In The Mood For Love


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy 6 And 3 Is 9 by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
6 And 3 Is 9


CD: Your Freak Is Here
Label: Big Bidness

Sample or Buy
Your Freak Is Here


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Lee 'Shot' Stole My Freak by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
Lee 'Shot' Stole My Freak


CD: Lee Shot Stole My Freak
Label: Red Dot



4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Mystery Train by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
Mystery Train


CD: Comin' Back Hard
Label: Delta Groove



4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Stick A Fork In Me by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
Stick A Fork In Me


CD: You Ain't Got No Proof
Label: Desert Sounds

Sample or Buy
You Ain't Got No Proof


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Wife And Sister by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
Wife And Sister


CD: You Ain't Got No Proof
Label: Desert Sounds



3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Ain't Got No Proof by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
Ain't Got No Proof


CD: You Ain't Got No Proof
Label: Desert Sounds

Sample or Buy
You Ain't Got No Proof


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Cheatin' On Me by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
Cheatin' On Me


CD: You Ain't Got No Proof
Label: Desert Sounds

Sample or Buy
You Ain't Got No Proof


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Love Mission by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
Love Mission


CD: Kings And Queens Of Ace
Label: Ace

Sample or Buy
Kings & Queens Of Ace


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy One Step From The Blues by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
One Step From The Blues


CD: Bobby Jonz Sings Country
Label: Avanti

Sample or Buy
Bobby Jonz Sings Country


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy She's The One by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
She's The One


CD: Comin' Back Hard
Label: Delta Groove

Sample or Buy
Comin' Back Hard


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Sneaking And Freaking by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
Sneaking And Freaking


CD: In The Mood For Love
Label: Ace

Sample or Buy
In The Mood For Love


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Stepping Is Cool by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
Stepping Is Cool


CD: You Ain't Got No Proof
Label: Desert Sounds

Sample or Buy
You Ain't Got No Proof


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Baby You Baby by Bobby Jonz (Obituary)
Baby You Baby


CD: In The Mood For Love
Label: Ace

Sample or Buy
In The Mood For Love


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