Released on: Inakustik Release date: Available now
You know in complete honesty, I’m not 100% sure when it was that I first heard this legend play and yes, I do call him a legend and although perhaps he was never as well-known as he deserved, in blues, rock and even some jazz circles, the guy was greatly admired and by many. A lot of guitarists have also claimed to have taken inspiration from this talented individual.
I think it was quite possibly the 1989 movie ‘Road House’ that also starred the late actor, Patrick Swayze that was where I first saw and heard him.
Since then I couldn’t help myself, but to track down 1988’s ‘See The Light’ album from the Jeff Healey Band that featured some absolute gems in both original Healey compositions and covers from the likes of John Hiatt, Freddie King / Sonny Thompson and ZZ Top to name just three.
His band then managed to release a further four great releases in ‘Hell To Pay’ – Killer! – ‘Feel This,’ the covers release ‘Cover To Cover’ and his last from the band in 2000, the excellent ‘Get Me Some.’
Subsequent releases followed under his name only, as a solo artist until his passing in 2008 captured four albums, a fifth ‘Mess of Blues’ was being worked on for a while before Jeff’s passing and released shortly after his death.
This release 'As The Years Go Passing By,' comes from ‘The Estate of Jeff Healey,’ so it has his family’s blessing.
It’s a nice kind of collection too, as it features three concerts recorded in Germany, where he was always welcomed, with the first dating back to 1989, at the Ohne Filter Extra event, when Healey was just twenty three with his trio comprising of Joe Rockman (Bass/Vocals) and Tom Stephen (Drums) alongside himself.
The second from 1995, was the ‘Extraspät in Concert’ with the same guys and the addition of second guitarist Pat Rush.
The third and final concert disc is again from the Ohne Filter Extra event in 2000, still with Rockman and Stephen on Bass and Drums respectively.
Then it’s a Healey original in ‘My Little Girl’ next which is an edgy grooving jam. Love it!
With a great interpretation of John Hiatt’s ‘Confidence Man’ next, which became a staple in Healey’s set over the years that followed and the man and his band play like seasoned players and it’s such a pleasure to listen to.
I’m pretty certain I hear keys here for sure from time to time, but there’s no one credited with playing keys, so who knows who joins them?
Another Hiatt song in ‘Angel Eyes’ is next and another regular track in the Healey set list it seems and it’s a more laid back tune, still good stuff!
The title track of the man’s first album is a great set closer here, after some messing around before it starts proper it gets into its groove and some serious riffing from Jeff.
Its classic blues with the Robert Johnson classic ‘Stop Breaking Down’ next and they don’t come much more trad than this one!
A tune made popular by Albert King next and the title of this complete package in ‘As The Years Go Passing By,’ is more classic blues for you folks!
Then it’s over to the second appearance of ‘Confidence Man’ which Jeff and band have really made this their own tune.
It was pleasing to see the Steeler’s Wheel cover, ‘Stuck In The Middle’ written by the late Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan.
I think as with Healey, that Gerry Rafferty was hugely overlooked / underrated.
Jeff, I wish I could say this to you today, but if Gerry was here and you, I believe he’d tell you, ‘Thanks Jeff, that’s sounds great!’ RIP guys! :(
This whole disc was of course recorded during the ‘Cover to Cover’ tour by Jeff and his band, so there really is more emphasis on cover tunes here.
Next here we get Jeff’s take on Lennon / McCartney blues jam, ‘Yer Blues’ which gets a real down and dirty groove and he also rips out a killer solo!
A tune made popular by Lonnie Johnson, ‘Me and My Crazy Self,’ gets the Healey solo acoustic treatment next, including some serious acoustic riffing in the second half of the tune, which just goes to show that the man had no inhibitions on how he jammed either just him and an acoustic or fully electric with his always class backing band. Good stuff indeed!
A bit of laid back acoustic intro with some fooling about brings on his own song ‘See The Light’ which becomes an almost fifteen minute monster!
Can’t say enough about how much Jeff and the band put into the song and then to close this disc, a truly wonderful version of George Harrison’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps.’
Some serious guitar work from Jeff here that almost feels in moments like the soloing on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s live version of say ‘Freebird,’ although clearly not as lengthy!
The last disc here is from Jeff's last tour with the Jeff Healey Band, in support of the band’s last album, ‘Get Me Some’ released in 2000 and reissued again in 2011, through Eagle Rock.
It was and still is in my books a great album that featured songs co-written by some real greats from the AOR world, like Dianne Warren, Arnold Lanni, Marti Frederiksen, Stevie Salas amongst others, but that said, this recording only features three songs from that release as well as seven other classic gems.
It’s got a great groove not unlike Santana at times.
Next it’s ‘Which One’ from the ‘Get Me Some’ album and the chorus will really grab you, as it did me, great jam!
Then it’s back to the real blues of ‘How Blue Can You Get,’ made famous by B.B. King, which Jeff really makes the most of in this eight plus minute jam!
This is another monster jam, that rocks some but then takes things down real low a little after the midway point and then comes back with venom with some absolutely kick ass rockin’, jamming!
It’s a real pleasure to get to listen to this and better still, to have the honour of reviewing the man’s great work.
Thank you Jeff Healey and band, for some great music you left us to remember you by, RIP Jeff.
Rating: 4.75 out of 5