In 1997, producer John Koenig and music impresario, Ahmet Ertegun brought together an incredible group of musicians to back blues legend Jimmy Rogers on the all-star, ‘Blues Blues Blues‘ album. Rogers, a blues singer, guitarist, harmonica player and one of the architects of ‘Chicago Blues’ was best known for his stellar work as a member of Muddy Waters’ band and as a solo artist in the 1950s. The record, which features some great performances by Jimmy, was meant to both celebrate his career and introduce him to a new generation of fans.
The album’s opening cut, the Muddy Waters tune ‘Blow Wind Blow‘, featured Jeff Healey playing lead guitar and sharing vocal duties with Jimmy. It helped set the tone and kicked off the album in serious style.
Jimmy Rogers’ son, guitarist Jimmy D. Lane remembers…
“I had a complete blast, with Jeff!! When we did the session, at Ocean Way Studios… we all had a great time recording this track! Jeff’s respect for my father and the rest of the “old guard” of blues masters was great to see. The night before…we all hung out at BB King’s (in Universal City).”
(for more on this great studio session, please click HERE)
Sadly, Jimmy Rogers passed away in December of ’97 and never got to hear the finished work. The album was completed and released a year later in 1999.
In the summer following the release of ‘Blues Blues Blues’, a live tribute to Jimmy was put together as part of the 1999 Montreux Jazz Festival line-up.
Jeff played three tunes at the tribute show fronting a band of musical giants. The line-up featured our own Pat Rush, Jimmy D. Lane (Rogers’ son and an incredible player in his own right) and John Koenig (‘Blues Blues Blues’ producer) on guitars, the LEGENDARY Johnnie Johnson on piano, Ted Harvey on drums, Bob Stroger on bass and Jeff’s good friend, Fabulous Thunderbirds front man, Kim Wilson on harmonica.
“So, I went to Montreux that trip (in 1999) to play a show with Jeff and the JHB. The band was playing the first night, then we had a day off for the tribute rehearsal for Jeff. The third day was the tribute show. I was not in the tribute show when we arrived.
The night of our gig there was an old fellow with a cane, sitting next to Bungie our guitar tech’s station, on the side of the stage. He watched our show and kept smiling at me throughout the set. I wondered to myself ‘who is this person?’
After the show I asked Jeff, after hearing that Stephen Stills had cancelled for the tribute show, if he could talk to someone on my behalf to get me on the show. He said he wasn’t sure who he should speak to. Later that night he, Tom and Joe went to a private meeting with Ahmet Ertegun about our relationship with his record label (Atlantic Records).
Jeff came back later and in the course of a conversation he turned to me and said, ‘Oh! By the way, you’re on the tribute show’. I was taken aback and said, ‘How did you pull that off?’ He said that he didn’t have anything to do with it and that Ahmet had asked him after their meeting to ask me if I would play slide on the gig. Apparently the old fellow on my side of the stage was Ahmet and he loved my guitar and slide playing and had decided to ask me. I was never so honoured and was so happy to hear that I was invited on my own merit and not because of Jeff pulling strings (no pun intended!). Jeff and I did all the rehearsals together and had a great time with all of the other musicians!!!” – Pat Rush
So, here without further adieu, is Jeff’s fantastic set from the Jimmy Rogers Tribute in Montreux, on July 5th, 1999. Enjoy…
‘Hoochie Coochie Man’
‘Blow Wind Blow’
“The last time I saw Jeff was in Montreux 1999…when we did the tribute show for my father (Jimmy Rogers). During that event…Jeff wanted to participate in a bungie jump feature (at the festival site). We tried to talk him out of it, but he did it anyway…lol. Miss you, man…..JDL” – Jimmy D. Lane
(… and a very special thanks again to Jimmy D. Lane and Pat Rush)