A barely 21 year-old Jeff Healey *tears* through a killer set, live at Toronto’s legendary El Mocambo 1987!
At the time, Jeff and the band were still a year away from their major US label record deal, still pushing the indie 45 ‘Adrianna/See The Light‘ and still struggling with an apathetic Canadian music industry. But the audiences… the audiences were sitting up and taking notice and the JHB’s fanbase was spreading like wildfire.
JHB shows were always special, but in these early days, they were incendiary. There was a hunger in Jeff Healey’s performances, a determination to show the world what he could do. His Jimi Hendrix influence was a lot more visible at this stage but it was still strongly filtered through Jeff’s own unique talents. His playing was stellar and he was taking joy in refining the “show” aspects, feeding off of the audience response, always leaving them wanting more.
This set is a prime example of why it was so easy for Toronto to fall head over heels with its native son. Jeff is absolutely *on fire*, pushing (and punishing) his guitar to the limit.
The Freddie King classic that would eventually wind up on Jeff’s major label debut (netting him his first Grammy Nomination)…
A song that would follow Jeff throughout his career, it would eventually be recorded for the ‘Hell To Pay‘ album with none other than George Harrison himself singing back-up and playing rhythm acoustic guitar.
The band’s signature tune, always an opportunity for Jeff to cut loose and follow his muse.
Jeff blazes on this *EPIC* 10 minute version of the Jimi Hendrix smash!
(“With a little Star Spangled Banner to send us off…. I remember the day that Jeff and I went out shopping for a strat. It boiled down to two guitars and he ended up with that sunburst Squire he’s playing here. The USA vintage model was a bit expensive. That’s my old Cry Baby wah pedal on the floor. He used that to record “See The Light”. Jimi would have enjoyed that version of Foxy Lady…” ~ Corey Mihailiuk – an old friend of Jeff’s)
…and finally, we close out with another blues classic… a song that would continue to pop up in sets throughout Jeff’s career…
I love Jeff’s playing. I lived in Toronto in the 70’s and structured a return trip in 2004 to catch Jeff at his club. An unforgettable evening with Jeff and his fine house band was topped off by the appearance of Edgar Winter at the end of the night and a bunch of excellent musicians playing a set of rock/blues standards. The best gig of my life? Probably.
Is this available retail
Sadly no David. This was taken from a bootleg that’s been kicking around in trading circles for the past few years… ~Rog
Jeff’s music has been a big influence in my life
of the times together with Jeff and Joe. I believe Pete and I helped roadie this gig with his brown van. I can remember the El Mocambo gig. not the date but so close. Grosman’s was across the street also.
I came to know Jeff through his cbc Radio broadcasts. I just finished listening to a 1 hr. tv special he did with the Jazz Messingers on Qello. What a wonderful cultivated talent he had. I miss those cbc shows. He introduced a new generation to a type of music that is worth preserving. Are there any recordings of those shows he did on CBC radio still available comercially?
Unfortunately not at this point, but it is something we are looking into. If they become available, we’ll be sure to make an announcement on the site.
The closest we have is a limited quantity of *cassette* box sets available that were produced during Jeff’s CBC run in the ‘90s. If these are of interest, please send me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org as we don’t have them up in the Store yet…
The first time I saw/ heard Jeff was in the Patrick Swazye movie Roadhouse. Someone else no longer with us.
First time I saw Jeff was in Ottawa on Canada Day, probably 1987, cause i remember buying his ’45 at Sam the Record Man the same week
A crowd of about 30 people were sitting down in the bus lanes of the city at Lincoln Heights shopping center. The buses were stopped cause it was Canada day.
Jeff and band were on what looked like a hay wagon, sitting in the bus lane. This was the stage and concert for the day in this part of town.
How and why he took that gig, i’ll never know, but it was amazing. Absolutely blew me away.
It was only about a 40 minute gig, but i’ll never forget, he ended with a Hendrix style version of O’Canada, complete with dive bombs and ear blistering feedback.