Mercy

Steve Jones

MCA Records, 1987

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jones_(musician)

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/11/1998

Here in the computer room of the Pierce Memorial Archives, I keep a list of all the bands we've reviewed on "The Daily Vault," as well as how long it's been since they've graced our pages. A side list I keep is called "10 Missing In Action" - these are the acts who have the longest time accumulated since their last review. And, wouldn't you know it, Steve Jones - the first artist to ever be reviewed on this site - is at the top of the "Missing In Action" list.

After digging his 1987 solo debut Mercy out of the depths of the Archives, I remembered why it had been buried back there so long. The album, while it has its merits, is hardly the kind of effort you would have expected one of the fathers of punk rock to have put out.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

After a public battle with drugs which he eventually won, Jones re-emerged on the rock scene, ready to stake his claim as one of the genre's premier musicians. Unfortunately, the title track of this disc (and the first cut on the album) hardly has the goods to back him up. Jones's singing rarely goes above a regular croon, and his guitar playing, while solid, is not as punchy or flashy as one would have expected, especially considering his work with the Sex Pistols.

And after fighting such a harrowing battle with drug addiction, one would have expected a stronger song behind "Drugs Suck," a song which could almost qualify as a ballad. I will admit that since the last time I listened to this disc before filing it (way back in 1990), I didn't hear the background montage which seemed to serve as the warning on the danger of drugs. Be that as it may, the message doesn't carry much farther than the strong title, and this effort turns out to be a major disappointment.

Eventually, Jones does re-discover the volume knob on his Les Paul, and the guitars have much more bite on songs like "Give It Up" and "That's Enough". However, Jones's singing still doesn't have the urgency that he would later capture on the follow-up album, Fire And Gasoline. Still, the good efforts (of which I would have said there were none back in 1990) are definitely worthy of the listener's attention.

However, Mercy is an album steeped in mediocrity, as evidenced by songs like "Raining In My Heart" and a surprising choice of cover songs, "Love Letters". (Then again, former bandmate Sid Vicious covered Frank Sinatra's "My Way," so nothing should shock me anymore.) These are songs that should have spent a little more time in development to turn them into something magical and powerful. Instead, they just kind of sit there like a lump in your headphones.

Jones is a much better guitarist and musician than Mercy proves, and he would eventually demonstrate his talents before fading into the background again. While Mercy does have some decent material on it, this one is strictly for the fans - that is, if you can still find a copy of this long out-of-print release. 

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MCA Records, and is used for informational purposes only.