Ruf Records announces Songs from the Road, a new album featuring 11 previously unreleased live tracks from the late, uniquely-gifted guitarist Jeff Healey. The recordings were done over a 15 month period at the famous Notodden Blues Festival in Norway (5 August 2006), the Islington Academy in London (20 May 2007) and Jeff Healey’s Roadhouse in Toronto (15 November 2007).
Songs from the Road is the follow-up to Mess of Blues, which was released just weeks after Jeff’s untimely death from cancer at age 41 on March 2nd of last year. Mess of Blues was honored at this year’s Blues Music Awards as “Blues-Rock Album of the Year,” the debut of that award category. Jeff’s widow, Cristie, was there to receive the award, giving an emotional acceptance speech to a standing ovation.
Songs from the Road showcases the amazing breadth of Jeff Healey’s guitar playing and soulful vocals, including psychedelic rock (“White Room”), bluesy versions of pop songs (“Teach Your Children,” “Come Together” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” the latter which Jeff originally recorded with George Harrison), Chicago and Delta blues (“I’m Ready,” “Stop Breaking Down”) and an updated version of Jeff’s biggest international hit, “Angel Eyes.” Other tracks include his take on The Allman Brothers Band’s “Whipping Post,” Mark Knopfler’s “I Think I Love You Too Much” and the rockin’ Christmas chestnut, “Santa, Bring My Baby Back to Me.”
Songs from the Road features Jeff Healey backed by his long-time touring band, including good friend Alec Fraser, who also produced the new album. Guitarist Randy Bachman makes a guest appearance on a rousing version of “Hoochie Coochie Man.”
“It’s such a flashback; Jeff was in top form,” says Alec Fraser in the liner notes. “As always, his repertoire was as wide as the Mississippi – Jeff always gave his best, even in the last days when he was seriously ill. I believe Jeff was one of a kind and it’s doubtful there will ever be another one like him.”
“All of us in Jeff’s family, a family that includes thousands of fans around the world, are so pleased to see the release of this recording,” says Cristie Healey in the liner notes. “Today, more than a year after he left us, we recommend this wonderful recording to you. Songs from the Road is the way we all want to remember him: Smiling, laughing and playing and singing from his heart.”
“Alec Fraser has become my all-around man for the last decade. He’s been my engineer for all of my jazz projects, he’s been the bassist and engineer for the “Jeff Healey Blues Band”, and he shares my interest and enthusiasm as an eclectic listener to many different genres of music. In this band, I always feel like I’m a member, not the leader — just a musician who has an equally important role along with the other players.” — JEFF HEALEY, 2008
I’ve just spent a lot of time listening to the tapes of our band — from Notodden, the big festival in Norway, the date we played in London, when Jeff’s old friend Randy Bachman came onstage to join him, and some tracks recorded at Jeff’s club in Toronto.
It’s such a flashback; Jeff was on top form, positive, well, and, as always, the rest of us gave him the support he could always rely on.
There are a couple of things that come back to me. One is how exhausted we all were for the Notodden Festival; it was a long series of plane rides, and then a couple of hours in a car with no sleep. However, the minute we hit stage, the tiredness seemed to vanish, and we were all ON, with Jeff leading the way.
As always, his repertoire was as wide as the Mississippi — you’ll find some Chicago classics, some old r&b, a taste of psychedelia, and some pop classics from a bygone era — “Teach Your Children Well,” “Come Together,” and his biggest hit “Angel Eyes.”
Whenever we played — in Europe, the U.S. or at home in Canada — Jeff always gave his best, even in the last days when he was seriously ill.
Around the world, thousands of fans will enjoy this CD. I believe Jeff was one of a kind and it’s doubtful there will ever be another one like him.
At the very end of the last song, “Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me,” Jeff can be heard saying “That was fun, and that’s what it’s all about.”
And so it is. – ALEC FRASER (producer & bass player)
Jeff Healey – Songs From The Road
Source: CD + DVD
Label: Ruf Records
Release date: 28 July 2009
01. I Think I Love You Too Much (5:36)
02. I’m Ready (5:21)
03. Stop Breaking Down (5:57)
04. Angel Eyes (5:54)
05. Come Together (5:22)
06. Hoochie Coochie Man (7:09)
07. White Room (5:35)
08. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (5:13)
09. Whipping Post (5:59)
10. Teach Your Children Well (2:48)
11. Santa, Bring My Baby Back (To Me) (2:09)
For more information, visit www.jeffhealey.com.