Essential Jeff Healey – ‘Blow Wind Blow’
(from the album Blues Blues Blues by the Jimmy Rogers All Stars – 1999)
Hey folks! Welcome to the latest instalment of our ongoing Essential Jeff Healey series. This time around we focus on a fantastic late 90’s blues session…
In 1997, as the result of a then, recently cemented (though ultimately short-lived) association with Ahmet Ertegun‘s legendary Atlantic Records, Jeff was invited to participate in the Jimmy Rogers All Stars album, ‘Blues Blues Blues‘. It was a project designed to both celebrate blues legend Jimmy Rogers‘ career and introduce him to a new generation.
Jimmy Rogers (June 3, 1924 – December 19, 1997) was best known for playing in Muddy Waters‘ band (informally known as the ‘Headhunters’) from the late 40’s into the 50’s. The band also featured fellow blues luminary Little Walter and together with Muddy, they helped to define the music style now known as ‘Chicago Blues’.
‘Blues Blues Blues‘ brought an re-energized Jimmy Rogers into the studio with the likes of such fantastic musicians as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Lowell Fulson, Stephen Stills and our own Jeff Healey. Thay had all felt Jimmy’s influence throughout their careers and were eager to help pay tribute. Sadly Jimmy passed away shortly before the album was completed…
“John Koenig was the producer on that. It was quite an experience getting to work with Jimmy and the band overall that day, I mean, what talent. Kim Wilson was, of course, a friend of mine and Johnnie Johnson, who has passed on now, was on piano. Great, great experience.”
(from ‘Talking Music‘ by Holger Petersen – Insomniac Press, 2011)
The Muddy Waters penned tune was recorded at Ocean Way and was produced by John Koenig, a man who’s had the privilege to work with countless great artists including Van Morrison, Otis Span, Joe Farrell and many, many more. He also ran the pioneering jazz label Contemporary Records for seven years after his father, Lester Koenig passed away in 1977.
‘Blow Wind Blow‘ features a truly powerhouse group of musicians including Freddie Crawford on bass, Ted Harvey on drums, Jeff Healey playing lead guitar and sharing the lead vocal with Jimmy, Johnnie Johnson on piano (Johnson’s incredible playing can be heard on almost all the early Chuck Berry records), Jimmy D. Lane (Jimmy Rogers’ son) on guitar, Jimmy Rogers singing lead and Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds on harmonica.
Jeff’s vocals and guitar always compliment and never overpower Jimmy’s classic performance. His solo, a tasty affair, reinforces Kim Wilson’s wonderful blues harp perfectly. Capping it off, Koenig’s production is impeccable, giving the session a vintage, yet somehow timeless feel…
‘Blow Wind Blow‘ is a great record filled with wonderful performances… a fitting farewell to a blues pioneer that definitely rates as ‘essential’ Jeff Healey.
Hope you all dig it!
Until next time peeps…