JONES, LOUIS PRINCE, JR. [BLUES BOY]
JONES, LOUIS PRINCE, JR. [BLUES BOY] (1931–1984). Louis Prince “Blues Boy” Jones, Jr., blues singer, musician, and songwriter, was born in Galveston, Texas, on April 28, 1931. His parents were Rebecca Prince Jackson and Louis Jones, Sr. Jones’s mother was born in Brazoria, Texas; he never knew his biological father. He was raised in a family with three other siblings (brothers Andrew and Herman and sister Laura) and showed musical promise as a young child. At the age of four, Jones began singing beside his mother, Rebecca, in the church choir. He later learned to play the piano and drums. Jones attended Central High School in Galveston.
During the Korean War, he was drafted, under the name Louis Prince, into the United States Army where he was a medic. He served less than two years. Early in life, he also worked as a longshoreman in Galveston and at a business called Todd Shipyard. By his mid-twenties Louis was able to legally assume the surname of Jones, his biological father’s name, after his mother had pursued the matter in court on behalf of her son.
Singing was his greatest passion. In the early 1950s Jones went to live with his brother Andrew in Houston. There on Lyons Avenue, he discovered a studio called Peacock Records and owned by Don Robey, a record producer who had artists such as Bobby Blue Bland, “Big Mama” Thornton, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, and many others on his label. Jones practically lived at the studio and did back-up singing for gospel and rhythm and blues music for most of the artists on Robey’s famous Duke-Peacock label.
In 1956 Jones recorded his first songs on Peacock Records: “Rock and Roll Bells”/“All Over, Goodbye” under the name of Louis Jones and His Band. In his career, Jones performed in many states and abroad and reportedly toured with soul singer Maxine Brown, who invited the band to New York. In New York City Jones recorded the songs “I Believe to My Soul,” a cover of a song written by Ray Charles, and “Hurry Baby” on the Enjoy Record Label with producer Bobby Robinson. In 1963, when the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Birds was in movie theaters, Jones recorded on Decca Records “The Birds Is Coming”/“That’s Cuz I Love You” in New York City. Later he signed with Sabra Records in Houston. The owner of that label was Lelan Rogers, brother of country singer Kenny Rogers.
Jones was the lead singer of two bands. His second group was called Louis Jones and the Bobby Scott Orchestra, and they toured with artists Jerry Butler and Otis Redding in the early 1960s. In 1962, in Beaumont, he recorded two of his own original songs—“Come on Home”/“I Cried”—on the Sabra record label. (The record was apparently also later released on the OKeh label.) Also for the Sabra label he wrote and recorded “I’ll Be Your Fool” and recorded the flipside “Someway, Somewhere.” By 2014 the last surviving band member of the Bobby Scott Orchestra was Joe Smith from Brenham, Texas. Smith, age seventy-six, resided in Detroit, Michigan.
Louis Jones was married twice during his lifetime. Jones and Louise Frances Howard were married in Wharton, Texas, on March 3, 1955. Three children came from their union: Louis III, Harold Leonard, and LaVern Rebecca. Jones also had a daughter, Taneshia Aaron, from another relationship. Within a few years the couple divorced. Jones married Patricia Darden on April 26, 1977. There were no children from that marriage.
Louis “Blues Boy” Jones suffered a stroke in April 1983 and passed away on June 27, 1984, at the Woodlake Nursing Facility in Clute, Texas, at the age of fifty-three. He was buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Galveston.
By the 2010s Jones’s music was enjoying a revival on the Internet, and ten of his songs had been uploaded by people from all around the world. Blues Boy Jones vinyl records were regarded as rare and valuable by collectors, and some 45 rpms commanded up to several hundred dollars on Internet auction sites. In 2011 LaVern Jones Lemons, Jones’s daughter, began tracking his views on YouTube. At that time, Jones had about 2,000 views from global supporters of his music. That number skyrocketed to more than 80,000 views in 2014. The ownership rights to Jones’s songs was unclear at that time. In commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of Jones’s passing, his young great grandson paid tribute to his great grandfather’s musical legacy by singing a medley of his songs on YouTube. On October 28, 2014, the Galveston city council approved a section of 37th Street to be named after Louis Blues Boy Jones. On August 12, 2015, James Yarbrough, mayor of Galveston, signed a proclamation declaring April 28th of each year to be “Louis Blues Boy Jones Day.”
“THE BIRDS IS COMING! Hitch yourself to LOUIS JONES,” October 29, 2013, Ill Folks (http://illfolks.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-birds-is-coming-hitch-yourself-to.html), accessed August 6, 2014. “Don Robey and Peacock Records,” Soulful Kinda Music (http://www.soulfulkindamusic.net/articlepeacock.htm), accessed August 6, 2014. Galveston Daily News, May 3, 2015. Ian Goodrum, “‘BLUES BOY’ IS BACK: Singer earns newfound popularity in Internet age,” The Facts (Clute, Texas) (http://thefacts.com/free_share/article_1f8693dd-138f-538c-9ee5-a3a409a6f9fa.html ), accessed November 5, 2014. Andrew Prince Johnson, Sr., Telephone Interview by LaVern Jones Lemons, August 7, 2014. LaVern Lemons, The Re-Introduction of a Blues Legend: A Daughter’s Amazing Discovery 23 Years Later (Xlibris, 2015). Joe Smith, Telephone Interview by LaVern Jones Lemons, August 7, 2014.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, LaVern Jones Lemons, "Jones, Louis Prince, Jr. [Blues Boy]," accessed January 17, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fjone.
Uploaded on August 26, 2014. Modified on November 3, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.