CD Review – Jeff Healey “As The Years Go Passing By”
The posthumous release, Jeff Healy: As The Years Go Passing By, from the Healy family trust, documents the career of a truly unique artist in three distinct periods, in three different decades, all recorded in Germany and heard now for the first time. Each show is excellently re-mastered with crystal clear fidelity, begging the question why it took so long for them to surface. The first disc finds a young hungry power blues trio in 1989 fresh off a guest starring role in the movie Roadhouse and pumping their hit single “Angel Eyes.” Healy mixes in deft interpretations of blues classic with tunes from his album See The Light, displaying firepower that must have been seen to believe it was coming from a seated blind guitarist. Disc two features the addition of guitarist Pat Rush to the Jeff Healy Band in a 1992 concert. This set is more cover heavy with the band clearly having a raucous time playing some old favorites from The Beatles, Stealers Wheel, and of course “Roadhouse Blues” from The Doors. The customary hit single “Angel Eyes,” is revisited again but this time as an acoustic duo feature. Healy is set free with a second guitar in the band with the lively extended solo filling each song. The third disc has a bit of a darker tone, as the band then included Phil Sayce on guitar and lead vocals for the Albert Collins tune “Put The Show One the Other Foot.” Healy’s smooth baritone feels strained throughout and his mood was no doubt suspect as he banters with the crowd telling them to “clap on beat for god’s sake,” at one point. His guitar playing remains stellar but you feel the tension of a veteran player trying to keep in the game.
The emotional arch of this collection, from fresh heady beginnings to joyful confidence and determined resistance against an eventual demise, plays out like a classic drama in three acts. At the center of all is the undeniable talent of Jeff Healy an artist who was taken too soon but left us with so much great music to cherish and remember him by.
originally published at Innocent Words June 2013