Abner Jay was a blues musician that produced music in the 60s and 70s, and True Story of Abner Jay is a compilation of his works. I normally don’t like compilations but this was my introduction to Abner Jay and what most know him for. Nearly all his music was own-label recorded, and done by himself – he was a true One-man band. His singing is probably most like Howlin’ Wolf, but he doesn’t have the rock sound that does.
The album kicks off with I’m So Depressed to set the tone of the album, this is a Blues album after all. His booming voice is just incredible, there’s so much emotion in it and his shouts are just as soulful. This is probably my favorite track on the album but unlike some albums where the first is the best, it never feels like the album is dragging or getting worse track by track. Following it is Cocaine – a common theme in his songs to come, and he sings with extreme candor. He starts off the song just talking about Folk and Rock n’ Roll music – sometimes he’ll inject these musings in the middle of his songs, and I love it. It just adds even more to the personality of his music – which is already 100% him.
Cleo is a sudden change of pace, sounding much more like a traditional Rock n’ Roll song from the 50s/60s… I’m not a fan of it. Thankfully though, that’s the only song on this album like that. Following immediately after is Woke Up This Morning, a standard blues song but Abner’s emotions he channels through his voice carries it. That voice shines on I Am Georgia Bound with Abner Jay bellowing from the first second of the song.
This is one of my favorite blues albums of all time, hell it might be my favorite. I have to admit I don’t listen much to the blues, I’ve got some more digging to do. Blues fans that haven’t heard this album are missing out, they need to grab this up ASAP. Folk and Rock fans will find a connection on this album though. Non-blues fans probably won’t like it, early John Lee Hooker might be a better starting place.