When Black Top reissued Little Sonny Jones' 1975 New Orleans R&B Gems 20 years after the album's initial release, even some true blues fans probably shook their heads and wondered, "Who?" But rest assured: folks in the Crescent City recall Jones with great affection. He was born there and he died there, making some fine music in between. Born Johnny Jones, the singer picked up his enduring nickname from his pal Fats Domino when they were both playing at the Hideaway Club in the Ninth Ward during the late '40s. Domino hit it big, but Jones' vinyl fortunes weren't as lucky: a 1953 single on Specialty ("Do You Really Love Me"/"Is Everything Allright?") preceded a four-song session for Imperial the next year under Dave Bartholomew's direction (songs included "I Got Fooled" and "Winehead Baby"). All three 45s stiffed, but Fats kept him employed as a warmup act until 1961.
After seven years back home singing with the band of brothers David and Melvin Lastie, Jones retired until his 1975 album (first issued on Black Magic Records overseas). The set accurately re-created the Crescent City R&B sound of the '50s, thanks to Little Sonny Jones' rich singing and the efforts of veterans Dave "Fat Man" Williams on piano and vocals, saxists Clarence Ford and David Lastie, guitarist Justin Adams, bassist Frank Fields, and drummer Robert French. Jones came out to play the annual Jazz & Heritage Festival until his 1989 death of heart failure. ~ Bill Dahl