April 8, 1908|
Earle, Arkansas, United States
|Died||March 23, 1988
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass|
|Snooky Pryor, Floyd Jones|
Jones was born in Earle, Arkansas, on April 8, 1908. Raised in the church, he developed an interest in music at an early age and learned to play the guitar after his brother bought an old broken one for $3. When he was proficient enough, he started playing for country dances.
By 1939 he had arrived in Chicago, where he was one of numerous musicians performing on Maxwell Street and in nonunion venues who played an important role in the development of the postwar Chicago blues sound. He often performed with his first cousin, the singer and guitar player Floyd Jones. By the late 1940s he was capable of playing any kind of music requested and had learned to play the piano, banjo and bass (including a homemade bass fashioned from a washtub, a broom handle and a clothesline), in addition to the guitar. He was regarded by his contemporaries as the best guitar player on the Chicago scene; the noted slide guitar player Muddy Waters warned Jones not to "fool with that slide" when he sat in with Waters's band one night.
Jones is most significant and best known for the singles he recorded in 1948 with his cousin Floyd Jones and the harmonica player Snooky Pryor, which were among the first recorded examples of the new style. The track "Snooky and Moody's Boogie" is said to have been the inspiration for Little Walter's 1952 hit "Juke". Jones made further recordings for JOB Records in the early 1950s, backing musicians such as Snooky Pryor and Johnny Shines. He sang three numbers on a 1952 session, but these were not released at the time (because, according to Jones, the label's owner, Joe Brown, thought his voice was "too rough"). One of the songs, "Rough Treatment", was recorded and released by the singer and guitarist Little Hudson (Hudson Shower) for the same label the following year.
Jones died in Chicago, on March 23, 1988.