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The Jeff Healey Band Live in Belgium

C. Michael Bailey By

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The Jeff Healey Band

The Jeff Healey Band Live in Belgium

Eagle Rock Entertainment

2012

The early 1990s were the height of Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey's popularity, particularly spurred by his conspicuous appearance in the 1989 Patrick Swazye film Roadhouse (United Artists). Healey, who passed away in 2006 at age 41, was noted for his novel guitar playing technique, developed possibly in response to his childhood blindness caused by familial retinoblastoma. Healey played the guitar flat on his lap, right handed, picking with this right hand and fretting this his left, playing in a guitar standard tuning (EAGDBE). His phenomenal technique was a pleasure to watch and was readily appreciated by guitarists of all stripes.

The Jeff Healey Band Live in Belgium (DVD and CD) was recorded during his European tour supporting his album Feel This (Arista, 1992). Healey and band rolled into the Peer Blues Festival in Peer, Belgium with a smoking 90 minute set of originals and expected covers that now comprise The Jeff Healey Band Live in Belgium. Healey had always been a popular draw at these festivals, this one in particular, as evidenced by the responsive crowd.

Healey's set list was heavy with Feel This material, music steeped in boogie-blues. The guitarist could always be counted on for delivering novel takes of the same old 12-bars. Healey's usual trio is augmented with a keyboards player and two background vocalists who add a gospel-soul dimension to his live sound. "Baby's Looking Hot," "Evil And Here To Stay" and "It Could All Get Blown Away" simmer with a blues fever fanned my background vocalists Mischke Butler and Toucu. Healey's guitar playing is sharp and sure and the band is as tight piano wire. The show highlights remain the older songs, covers of The Door's "Roadhouse Blues," John Haitt's "Angel Eyes" and George Harrison's greatest gift to music, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," which closes this electric show.

Healey was much more than a mere novelty in music. He was a force to be reckoned with and respected and his loss was a great one to the community of music.

Tracks: Baby's Lookin' Hot; The House That Love Built; Evil And Here To Stay; Confidence Man; It Could All Get Blown Away; Lost In Your Eyes; Heart Of An Angel; Full Circle; That's What They Say; Angel Eyes; Roadhouse Blues; See The Light; While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Personnel: Jeff Healey: guitar and vocals; Joe Rockman: bass; Tom Stephen: drums; Washington Savage: keyboards; Mischke Butler, Toucu: background vocals.

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