|At the heart of great songwriting is great storytelling and a keen eye for wordsmithing and phraseology. Jon Gindick has graced the world with another collection of great stories full of fresh phrases and joyful tales of life, love and the blues on his second album “Love At The All Night Cafe.” It’s also no coincidence that Gindick is also a master harmonica player, for his leads and solos are as fluid and lyrical as his vocal lines, as if he is singing through the blues harp. Gindick is backed by his trio of Ralph Carter on bass, guitarist Franck Goldwasser and Pete Gallagher on drums for a twelve-song set of foot stompin’ blues, swingin’ R&B, Calypso and soul.
The opening number, ‘I Was Born To Wail,’ is a lesson on the history of the blues harp with Gindick playing out his dream of joining the masters of the art and paying tribute to all who inspired him, and calling them out by name “Sonny Boy, Sonny Terry, Big Walter, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed and Howlin’ Wolf. These are the giants who created my music and to them I take my hat off.” The easy groove of the tale of heartache in ‘Feeling Her Gone’ has a classic Memphis Soul sound. The vibe gets edgy for ‘Baby’s Got The Blues,’ then deftly switches gears into a Latin groove for the satirical title track ‘The All Night Cafe.’ Some fine piano work from Carter frames Gindick’s colorful description of the scene portrayed in the painting “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper that graces the album cover. He then spars with Goldwasser on the slinky shifting blues ‘Load Me Up Baby’ and spells out the virtues of his muse on the sweetly swinging ‘Mississippi Moods.’
Gindick takes liberty with the old advice to husbands on ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life, Happy Home,’ while the band dishes out some breezy western swing. He gets to finally put into words the depth of his love on the piano driven ballad ‘The Song I Couldn’t Write,’ then challenges the #metoo movement with an old-fashioned boogaloo about his baby ‘I Love The Feminine Girl,’ and then defends his machismo by declaring his sensitivity on the loping blues ‘Hand Holding Man.’ The tasty bossa nova ‘Can’t Get That Girl Off My Mind’ plays out the romantic tale. For the album closer Gindick speaks of his music and the profound love and redemption he has found in its creation on the soaring ‘In The Land Of You’ (a man giving up everything for a woman he has seen only once.)
Another great songwriter and his wife once penned the line “Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs, And what’s wrong with that?” Jon Gindick has taken this notion to heart and with “Love At The All Night Cafe” gives it an edge of bluesy reality
Rick J. Bowen
Jon was born in 1948 in Hollywood, California. An early memory is listening again and again to harmonica great Larry Adler playing “Rhapsody in Blue” on the family Packard Bell console. In 1954, the Gindicks moved 200 miles north to the town of Visalia in the San Joaquin Valley. Although always motivated by art, it was here Jon got his taste of hard work. He worked in the fields, the plums, the peaches, packing house lines, drove forklifts, loaded box cars (and hitched a few as well.) In the 60’s, Jon got his first guitar and blues harps and fell in love with The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Bob Dylan. Jon attended UC Berkeley, which had a vibrant music scene in Sproul Plaza, in the center of campus. He played harmonica and guitar with many musicians, going from group to group on the music-studded campus.
Graduating from Berkeley in 1970, Jon worked in packing houses and wrote short stories and novels. His hero was John Steinbeck, but in fiction, he couldn’t get close. Playing harp and guitar and writing songs constantly, he started teaching harmonica. In the mid 70’ s Jon wrote and self-published his first harmonica instruction book and tape cassette. He packaged them with a Hohner harmonica and sold the kit for $13.95 in Rolling Stone classifieds. He sold thousands from his living room. Jon became a well-known figure to harp players of his generation.
In 1984, Jon wrote his best-seller “Country and Blues Harmonica for the Musically Hopeless” book and cassette, which eventually sold over a million copies. Jon created several harmonica instruction products and sold them in his mail-order business. Cowboy harmonica, gospel harmonica, patriotic harmonica – all sounding bluesy in the way Jon taught and played. Jon’s books and CDs were distributed into Cracker Barrel Restaurants, toy stores, mail order catalogs, sold on Home Shopping Network and Jon’s own 800 number cable TV ad. He made a harmonica instruction video with B.B. King distributed by Hohner. These infectiously enthusiastic and funny DIY products made him one of the most popular and listened-to harmonica players of the era. Part of the fun was the songs he wrote and sang for his students to jam with.
In 2001, Jon created Blues Harmonica Jam Camp, a harmonica/seminar/workshop, which focused on fundamentals of blues harp and jamming. Now the people Jon’s books had touched were able to spend several days with him learning harmonica skills. To this day, Gindick has put on 67 multi-day harmonica learning events with two more planned for 2020. More information at www.gindick.com.
In 2010, he met with multi-instrumentalist and producer Ralph Carter, and started honing his material for Carter’s recording studio. In 2010 and 2016, he released his highly-regarded album of ten original songs “When We Die, We All Come Back As Music,” which was produced and accompanied by Carter. Now, in 2019, Jon releases his sophomore album, “Love At The All Night Cafe,” a potent and innovative offering, creating its own category of blues.