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Jeff Healey - Songs From The Road

Ruf Records

More then a year after his passing, the music of the late Jeff Healey continues to be immortalized. His estate is jumping on the bandwagon of pillaging the vaults and releasing studio or live material that the world has never heard.

Not that this is a crime. Those who never got a chance to see Jeff perform will find "Songs From The Road" a nice mixture of classic rock, dusty blues and just good time fun.

There's a hot barrelhouse feel to Robert Johnson's "Stop Breaking Down" which takes flight with whaling harmonica and Jeff's fret board stabs. Though "Angel Eyes" was a big hit for him over twenty years ago, this live recording showcases the tune not straying far from the original blueprint.

His willingness to relinquish his vocals to other band members is a nice gesture. But it sometimes doesn't do too much for the song. Whoever was trying to sound like John Lennon in a rushed "Come Together" should have left well alone. The song rocks but with less a booster in its packet. Guitarist Randy Bachman from the three chord wonder band BTO proves he has a grasp of the blues when he spars with Jeff in the Willie Dixon warhouse "Hoochie Cootchie Man" that becomes a sweet jam of jellyroll under a cushion of harp swells. Air guitar fanatics will bob their heads to Bachman and Healey's six string gymnastics.

There's a nod to the psychedelic rockers Cream with a passable rendition of "White Room." While Dave Murphy doesn't floor a listener like Greg Allman with his vocals on "Whipping Post," his organ playing is almost a shoo-in for the grooves in the Fillmore East vinyl recording. Even Woodstock flower power gets aired in the unveiling of Graham Nash' golden oldie "Teach Your Children." You can hear the crowd sing-alongs in the George Harrison nugget of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Healey's lead bends just howl like a pack of banshees on the Coast of Wales.

If Songs From The Road is the last word of Jeff's music, then it's not too bad of a way to go. But it's hard to ignore a cash cow when it's waiting to be milked.

Review by Gary “Wingman” Weeks. 

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