A Full Live Album And More from Guitar Maestro.
We’ve long been Jeff Healey fans here at Rocking Magpie HQ, and feel the Rock and Roll History Books seem to have airbrushed him from their pages.
Thankfully Jeff’s wife Cristie alongside labels Provogue and Mascot seem Hell bent on righting that wrong, with yet another release that will keep the flame burning 8 sad years after his untimely death.
This album is billed as a ‘companion’ to Heal My Soul, the great ‘lost album’ which came out earlier this year, with the first five tracks being from the same sessions coupled with a live recording from the Rockefeller Music Hall in Norway from 1999.
Holding On opens with the splendiferous Love Takes Time. For a track that had been gathering dust this is well worthy of opening the new disc. Healey sounds on great form; ripping the notes from his guitar and his voice sounds as rich as ever on a damn fine song, that is about exactly what the title implies.
Every Other Guy is next; and is a touch slower and moodier with Healey pleading with his Lady to ‘walk on by’ from Every Other Guy while he is away from her. The guitar actually sizzles as it punctuates the song, while the Canadian has hardly ever sounded so emotional. Blues Rock par excellence.
All That I Believe is a lot punchier and even ‘Heavier’ than I recall Healey ever being; but well worth seeing out, in my humble opinion.
Of the five ‘new tracks’ there are two absolute honeys; CNI Blues is a short and sweet instrumental that hints at a whole new direction that wasn’t to be; and Dancing With Monsters is as good a riff-driven Blues Rocker as I’ve heard in years. All that is missing is Jeff introducing it with 1-2-3-4!
The Oslo concert opens with a proper introduction from an MC, how I miss those days, then the band immediately rip into My Little Girl with Healey showing why guys like me speak in reverential tones about his talents as a singer and a guitarist.
The tracks are a nice mix from his four albums to date; although the majority come from his Cover to Cover album, and showcase his mastery of all the Blues styles.
If you’d asked me a month ago if I would be happy going to the grave never hearing another ‘version’ of Dust My Broom again; I’d have replied in the affirmative but I’d have been wrong, as our man dusts it off, fits a new handle and electrifies this hoary old classic; proving quality songwriting never goes out of style.
The first time I heard it, I actually raised my eyebrows; but his deconstruction and rebuilding of Stuck in the Middle With You is quite mesmerising; and at the end he playfully morphs into Tequila. Another track that made me do a double take was Yer Blues. I sort of recognised it; but couldn’t place it, thinking it was something from my Chess collections….Hell No! This is a Beatles song of course…..from the Whit Album, but like Stuck in the Middle Jeff Healey really does make it his own with his signature guitar licks as sterling as ever.
While I like (no, make that love) the ‘surprising’ tracks here, my favourites are two trademark Jeff Healey songs, I Think I Love You Too Much and See The Light; both making me wish more than ever that I’d seen him play live in Newcastle.
An album combining 5 studio tracks and 9 song live concert is something of an oddity and to some degree makes for an unbalanced album; but it is what is and I heartily recommend it to existing Jeff Healey fans, Rockers and Blues Heads alike; you won’t be disappointed.
Released December 9th 2016