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Jimmy Lloyd Rea and the Switchmasters “Cruisin’ For a Bloozin'” December 3, 2010

Posted by David W. King in Uncategorized.
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It’s not often that you think of a bass guitarist as lead for a band. But Jimmy Lloyd Rea defies convention and when he steps to center stage to lead the guys in his band the Switchmasters, he makes it look easy. This is the mark of a true professional.

Before you describe him as sounding like any other bassist with whom you may be familiar, be cautioned: Don’t do it. JLR has established himself as genuinely unique, and has honed his craft with his own blood, sweat and tears. No one showed him how to do it, and you have to respect the grit and determination with which he has accomplished what he has.

Instead, describe him. And you do it this way: Jimmy Lloyd is a master of the ‘Real deal, fly by the seat of your pants, just play the lowdown rockin’, good old blues ‘. If you want it refined and over rehearsed, he ain’t your man. JLR keeps it lowdown, loud, rowdy and rockin’, good, big groovin’ blues the way it is supposed to be. Certainly there ain’t no shortage of adjectives to describe his sound. Just don’t compare him to no one else. You will find few comparisons.

Jimmy Lloyd Reah’s band the Switchmasters are known for their old school, guitar based, hard driving, in your face Blues style. However,  JLR is known to use the top of the rung West Coast harp players from time to time. Legendary harmonica players such as Paul DeLay. Kim Field , Jason ” New Blood ” Ricci , Mike Moothart, Bill Rhoades, and Alvis “Love Bone ” Bell have been seen blowing the Blues with JLR and the boys.

He and his band are a dying breed: a real, old school, born and raised in the U.S.A., rockin’ roadhouse Blues Band . Mercy, Mercy! Just don’t compare him with anyone else. Or else you may be cruisin’ for a bloozin’.

BDA You don’t like to be compared to other guitar players, you would rather be described. In your own terms, how would you describe the music you play and the way you play it?

Jimmy Lloyd Rea I don’t like to be compared to other players at all. First off, when I started playing bass, I had nobody to show me anything. I bought my first electric bass in 1962, a sunburst Fender Precision Bass I did not know how to tune it. I tuned it like I thought was correct. It was not. I still play in that tuning. Don’t even ask, it makes no sense, but it works for me. My father was a fabulous steel guitar player–so I thought all instruments were played sideways.  I still play with the bass on my lap at times (Ala Jeff Healey. ) Comparing me to any other player is hard to do for these reasons.

As for my style of music—– I like Blues. I like it simple with a big huge groove and pocket– and loud. I was fortunate enough to play with Freddie King, Albert King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, J.B. Hutto, Big Walter Horton, Hounddog Taylor, R.L. Burnside, etc. I believe the real soul of the music comes from deep within the player and not from the hours and hours of practicing and trying to copy somebody else’s style. I do not care about the number of notes played. I do care about the fire, heart and soul in each note. I am a “less is more” guy.

I believe the real soul of the music comes from deep within the player and not from the hours and hours of practicing and trying to copy somebody else’s style.

BDA Based on your ability to play, you were inducted into the Official Blues Hall of Fame April 12, 2007. How big of an honor was this for you; how did this make you feel? Describe the induction ceremony (if any), from how you were notified of being eligible, to being nominated, to being inducted. What did you receive as a result of being inducted?

Jimmy Lloyd ReaIt was one of the biggest honors of my life to inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. I was nominated by Johnny Mannion , a guitar playing Blues scholar from California. I was voted on by the Board of Directors. To my surprise I was voted in. I received a certificate and a plaque.  So far it has been great.  I was named as a voting member of the Board of Directors in October of 2007.

BDAAs well as playing the guitar, you apparently have a true appreciation for the instrument. Tell us, what is the difference between an antique, vintage and used guitar? What do you look for in buying a guitar?

Jimmy Lloyd Rea Yes, I do love old guitars. I own over 100 bass guitars and most of them are pre-CBS Fender Precision basses

You asked about three types, antique, vintage and used. . The vintage guitar is a used guitar, but it is used guitar that was either built by a master luthier from years past, or is a type or brand of guitar that has become sought after by player of this generation. A used guitar is just a run of the mill guitar that is pre-owned.

Each of us is very different, so what I look for in a guitar, other players may not. I look at the general look of the guitar, its weight, type of hardware and pickups. Most important is how it feels to me and how it sounds to me. This day and age the price is very important. Some of the basses I paid a small amount for forty five years ago are worth thousands today.

BDAAre you a luthier? Do you also repair guitars?

Jimmy Lloyd Rea I am not a luthier. I do the average “music store repairs”, and have put many electric guitars together. I do not make guitars, I just put them together

BDATo demonstrate your ability to play, you have released another CD.   This is entitled, Cruzin’ For A Bloozin’  How many CDs have you released? Tell us about this latest. Who did you work with on this recording? Where is this CD available?
Jimmy Lloyd Rea I have eight CD’s under my belt, but am most happy with the Cruzin’ For A Bloozin.” I worked with Terry Martin, owner of Martin Archery and Blues Hat Records. Terry is a great blues guitar player and his company does all the archery lines for Ted Nugent. So, he knows both businesses very well.  Blues Hat studio guy, Rob Mortinson recorded the live CD. Studio wizard Ken Melhus did the mixing and Mastering.It got the sound I wanted—Simple, big groovin’, and loud with a mojo thrown in for good measure. Guitar players are the Reverend Danny G, Ron Carnes, and Jerry Smyth, Curt Johnson on drums, and myself on vocals and bass. It can be purchased at Amazon.com, CD Baby, ITunes or at the Blues Hat Page http://www.blueshat.com

Buy Jimmy’s new CD ” Cruzin for a Bloozin ” at:
Jimmy Lloyd Rea on Myspace
JLR & the  Switchmakers Webpage
Jimmy Lloyd Rea Named to Official Blues Hall of Fame April 2007 !!
Tough Guy Vintage Guitars/Tough Guy Productions
Jimmy Lloyd Rea —- Owner & Buyer
2533 Third Street
Baker City , Oregon 97814
Telephone: 541-523-2256
Fax : 541-523-2256
EMAIL : boogieman@bassplayer.cc
CD AT http://www.blueshat.com
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