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Blue Road - Live at Gabe’s Backstage Lounge

GMS Records

11 songs; 69:25 minutes; Splendid

Styles: Blue-Rock; Rock; Soul; Jam

What has caused the most speeding tickets?
(A) Car radio
(B) Car stereo music players
(C) Portable six-pack coolers

Personally, I had better be using the cruise control because when listening to a CD like this one, I can’t control myself. Car radio was good, but stereo players really make the miles go by, especially on a “Blue Road” - road trip. Recorded live and sounding every bit like a party, “Live at Gabe’s Backstage Lounge” is a pure fun release by Blue Road, one of Chicago’s hardest working bands today.

Blue Road features soulful vocalist Jimy Rogers – first famed with the 1960’s white Soul band, The Mauds. Veteran session guitarist Gary Gand handles the six strings, Joan Gand is on classic Hammond B-3 style organ, Graham Nelson guests on blues harp and vocals, R Kelly alumnus Joel Treadwell drums, and soul veteran Steve Nevets plays bass and adds vocals.

Blue Road has recorded three CDs with this latest being a collection of eleven popular covers. The set combines the traditions of Chicago Blues on “She Caught The Katy,” Memphis Soul on “Hold On” and “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” and a Rocking attitude on numbers like “I’m Walkin’.” For some rubber-meets-the-road jamming, the group shakes up Buddy Miles’ “Them Changes” into a 13 minute blend of satisfying hot and sweaty vocals, searing guitar and wah-wah, tasty harp, and cranking organ with the "bomb squad" rhythm section alternately soloing and lubricating the engine during this smoldering choogle.

The fun begins right with the first track, a re-make of Isaac Hayes’ and David Porter’s Soul classic “Hold On” that Jimy Rogers first sang up the charts with The Mauds in 1967 on the Mercury Records label.

My personal favorite on the CD is their stirring rendition of Percy Mayfield’s “People Get Ready.” At six minutes, Blue Road takes time to feel each part, for example a 30 second organ intro before searing guitar notes fill the air. After a full minute, Rogers sings the invitation, “People Get Ready....” Joan and Gary Gand really shine on this one with stellar organ and guitar work. Other great workouts are found on Booker T and the MGs’ “Green Onions” and set surpriser, John Fogerty’s “110 in the Shade.”
In the car, this CD is a mile maker. But, you’ve been warned – don’t let your “Blue Road” trip get expensive by “exspeeding” the limit!

Jimy Rogers' soulful vocals have long been an important part of the Chicago sound. Rogers founded his original band, the Mauds, in his teens. As the first of the blue-eyed soul bands in Chicago, their concert appearances attracted the attention of Mercury Records with which they signed. They claim to be the first white group to record at Chess Records, home to Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, even before the Rolling Stones.

Gary Gand is one of the top Chicago blues-rock guitar slingers, leader of long-standing blues jams around Chicago, and his virtuosity is the product of over 30 years on the Chicago music scene, both live and studio. Joan Gand plays classic Hammond B-3, Booker T-style organ and bluesy piano. This musical couple has played together since they were just out of high school, and can read each other's minds. They are the owners of Gand Music and Sound, a music retailer, sound rental, and installation firm.

Bass and drums are covered by the "bomb squad," R Kelly alumnus Joel Treadwell on drums/veteran Steve Nevets on bass and vocals. Special guests often include Graham Nelson on harp and vocals, backup singers Veronica Stanford and Jocelyn Mallard, and sax man Scott Van Wagner.

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Thursdays from 7 - 8 pm and Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at in Kankakee, IL

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