The Blind Dead McJones Band – Everybody’s Making Lemonade


They really don’t want to be drinking piss!

Review by Gary Cordwell

Independent Release

Release date: 14 March 2015

The back story of Leeds based three piece The Blind Dead McJones Band is, like that of Robert Johnson or Hayseed Dixie, shrouded in mystery and legend. Put together by the, ahem, enigmatic and elusive bluesman Blind Dead McJones as his backing band, the boys had to quickly learn to fend for themselves when McJones failed to show for their first gig. Since 2008 the band has channelled McJones’ aura and experience to become a popular live local draw. Seven years down the line and we have Everybody’s Making Lemonade, the follow up to their debut album, Last Resort Mexico.

The title track sets out the bands ethos – over finger clicks, they explain (acapella stylee) how, while bland lemonade is fine for most, they want to make orange juice – something different, odd, away from the norm, off the beaten track… well, you get the idea. And they go on to explain how they really don’t want to be drinking piss! Musically, there is a ramshackle, slightly indie-ish sound to the songs. There are echoes of Nick Cave to some of the vocal delivery – ‘Raised By Wolves’ in particular, although it does get progressively looser and sleazier and ends with probably the best recorded wolf howls since Warren Zevon! ‘Too Young To Be Afraid’ also namechecks rock n roll perennial Stagger Lee in a style very similar to Caves’ foul-mouthed ‘Murder Ballads’ classic!

And they love to tell a good tale. ‘Whistlin Willies Blues’ recounts the strange story of how sleeping with Wille’s wife gave him the authentic blues – which in turn earned him fame and fortune – but did our philandering heroes get any credit for their selfless act of infidelity? All this over some very deft, almost jazz guitar! And we musn’t let the humour and eccentricity completely overshadow the music – Big Ben Slack, Steve Nixon and Andy Johnson paint with a broad palette. Of course there is the blues – scruffy, tight but loose with riffs of the seedy and slippery variety. But there is also spidery funk, swampy country rock, ska shuffles and the country lope of final track ‘The Cat’s In The Bag’ which speeds up haphazardly to an almost punk thrash finish.

While this is not as bluesy as its predecessor it is certainly just as quirky. The band doesn’t take themselves at all seriously and it’s all great, refreshing fun. More importantly it gives them more stuff to play live, which is surely the best way to experience these individual young bluesmen.

The Blind Dead McJones Band – 20157 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Everybody’s Making Lemonade
  2. Raised By Wolves
  3. Too Young To Be Afraid
  4. Deep Blue Sea
  5. Shit
  6. Whistlin’ Willies Blues
  7. The Burden
  8. Rust
  9. I Sharpen My Blade
  10. At My Funeral
  11. The Cat’s In The Bag