Paul Jones is known to many as the singer of the British Invasion band Manfred Mann — the voice on mid-’60s hits like “Do Wah Diddy,” “Pretty Flamingo,” “Come Tomorrow” and “Sha La La.” The new CD, Starting All Over Again, is his first solo album in decades. It will be released on March 10, 2009 on Collectors’ Choice Music, marking it the first non-archival release in the venerable reissue label’s history.

Backing Jones on the project are musicians of no small esteem: Eric Clapton plays guitar on two tracks (“Choose or Cop Out” and “Starting All Over Again”) and is joined by Jake Andrews, guitar; Tony Marsico (Plugz, Cruzados, Neil Young, John Doe, Peter Case), bass; Alvino Bennett (LTD, Stevie Wonder, Bryan Ferry, Dave Mason), drums; Mike Thompson (Eagles, Don Henley), piano and Hammond B3 organ; Ernie Watts (Rolling Stones, Thelonious Monk, Steely Dan), saxophone; Darrell Leonard (Duane Allman, Freddie King, Smokey Robinson), trumpet; Tom Junior Moran (Percy Sledge, Mick Taylor, Phil Seymour), saxophone; Mikael Rickfors (The Hollies), backing vocals; Jake Andrews and several others.

The producer is Carla Olson, who has produced albums or tracks by Joe Louis Walker, Phil Upchurch, Otis Rush, The Ventures, Taj Mahal and a host of others, and who has recorded with Ry Cooder, Don Henley, Eric Johnson, John Fogerty, Mick Taylor and Gene Clark. A&R was overseen by Saul Davis.

In the circuitous road from Manfred Mann in the ’60s to the present, the multitalented Jones recorded three solo albums in the ’60s and turned to acting — first in films and television, then on stage. His films include the underground classics Privilege and The Committee. Among his television credits are Z Cars, Space 1999 and The Sweeney. He also appeared in productions for London’s Royal National Theater and the Royal Shakespeare Company, and has worked with directors Sir Richard Eyre, Peter Gill and Toby Robertson. His gold albums include one for the original recording of Evita. He also performs in The Manfreds, a band containing Jones and other Manfred Mann alumni, and hosts a blues radio show on BBC’s World Service.

The new album features “Lover To Cry,” penned by Jake Andrews, guitarist on most of the album; “If You Love Me (Like You Say)” by bluesman Little Johnnie Taylor; “Choose or Cop Out,” a Jones original featuring Clapton; the title track “Starting All Over Again” by Stax soul star Johnnie Taylor, also featuring Clapton; “I’m Gone,” originated by the Swedish band The Creeps; “Philosopher’s Stone,” a Van Morrison song; “Need to Know,” written by British and Nigerian artist Ola Onabule; “Gratefully Blue,” an Eric Bibb composition; “When He Comes,” written by Jones with ex-Hollies member Mikael Rickfors; and an instrumental, “Alvino’s Entourage.” Also included is a bonus track, “Big Blue Diamonds,” a duet between Jones and Percy Sledge culled from Sledge’s 2004 Shining Through the Rain album.

According to Jones, “Not that I knew it but I guess the reason I hadn’t cut an album in so long was that I needed to record the right one. And this sure feels like the right one if I do say so myself! When producer Carla Olson approached me about recording we agreed that material was number one. I really wasn’t writing a lot so we had to choose with care. After sending songs to each other it was apparent quite early that we were on the same page. We both wanted a variety of styles and tempos but it needed to sound unified as well. Rock, pop, blues. Electric, acoustic. Bare bones, band with horns and backup vocals. It’s all there.”

Added CCM label head Gordon Anderson, “This project is the exception that proves the rule when it comes to our label putting out contemporary recordings. The quality of this album, and the personnel on it, basically made the decision to go ahead with our first-ever ‘new’ album an easy one.”

Tracklisting Paul Jones – “Starting All Over Again”

1 Lover To Cry
2 If You Love Me (Like You Say)
3 Choose Or Cop Out (with Eric Clapton)
4 Sundown
5 Starting All Over Again (with Eric Clapton)
6 I’m Gone
7 Philosopher’s Stone
8 Gratefully Blue
9 Need To Know
10 Still True
11 When He Comes
12 Alvino’s Entourage
13 Big Blue Diamonds