John Paul Jones – The Thunderthief (2001), A Great Rock Album

‘The Thunderthief’ is the title of the second solo studio album of legendary ex-Led Zeppelin and Them Crooked Vultures English bassist, keyboardist, and multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones. The album was released on 15 June 2001 through the independent label Discipline Global Mobile (the label founded by King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp) and was produced by John Paul Jones himself.

Thus far, it is John Paul Jones’ last studio record released. It has a total length of 46 minutes and 13 seconds. It is a great mixture of instrumental rock, progressive rock, hard rock, and heavy metal, just as its predecessor, ‘Zooma‘, which was released approximately two years before, in 1999. The new musical additions which separates it from ‘Zooma’ are the folk rock and punk rock sounds attached to it.

John Paul Jones – The Thunderthief (2001), frontal cover artwork. Image source:

In critical regards, the album was received well by, most notably, Allmusic (which gave it 3 out of 5 stars) and Rolling Stone magazine which gave it a favourable review. Its interesting and, at the same time, rather spooky frontal cover artwork makes it, in my humble opinion at least, a perfect rock studio album to listen to in pandemic times (given the fact that it reminds of the tragic Black Death of the High Middle Ages in Western Europe through the character depicted on it, considering its mask and costume), that is while respecting all the necessary sanitation/health-based protection measures against COVID-19. 😉

Given the aforementioned, perhaps it is no wonder that I discovered and listened to this album initially in 2020, in the midst of the first dreadful COVID-19 waves which, very much unfortunately, swept Europe and my home country in the process as well.

But, putting these aside, ‘The Thunderthief’ remains quite an obscure yet majestic musical gem for any true Led Zeppelin fan out there. And, if you are such a fan indeed, you can’t possibly miss listening to this record, for certain!

The track list of the album is the following one:

  1. Leafy Meadows (composed by John Paul Jones);
  2. The Thunderthief (composed by John Paul Jones and Peter Blegvad);
  3. Hoediddle (composed by John Paul Jones);
  4. Ice Fishing at Night (composed by John Paul Jones and Peter Blegvad);
  5. Daphne (composed by John Paul Jones);
  6. Angry Angry (composed by John Paul Jones);
  7. Down to the River to Pray (traditional song arranged by John Paul Jones);
  8. Shibuya Bop (composed by John Paul Jones);
  9. Freedom Song (composed by John Paul Jones).

The recording personnel was as follows:

  • John Paul Jones – vocals, 12-string bass guitar, bass steel guitar, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, electric mandolin, piano, organ, synthesizers, Kyma, koto, autoharp, ukulele, harmonica;
  • Terl Bryant – drums, percussion, and toforan;
  • Nick Beggs – Chapman Stick on ‘Leafy Meadows’ and ‘Shibuya Bop’;
  • Adam Bomb – guitar solo on ‘Angry Angry’;
  • Robert Fripp – guitar solo on ‘Leafy Meadows’.

Below you can integrally listen to ‘The Thunderthief’ via Youtube. I truly hope you’ll like it and that you’ll have a great time listening to all of the songs on the record. My most favourite songs are ‘Ice Fishing at Night’, ‘Down to the River to Pray’, and ‘Shibuya Bop’. All the best, much health, take care, stay safe, many blessings, and great peace your way! God bless you and keep on listening to great rock music!

And a live performance of ‘Tidal’ at Guitar Wars with highly technical and talented Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt:

Documentation sources and external links:

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