Thursday, August 07, 2008

CD Review: Jeff Healey - Mess of Blues

I've never been comfortable with Jeff Healey's recorded opus. Anyone who seen Healey live will attest that he was a superior guitar player who had with chops and musicianship. His records (or rather CD's) always seemed restrained and insufficient, as if the record company was calling all the shots on it (they probably were).

Jeff Healey's final studio recording, the posthumously released Mess of Blues, is an example of how good Jeff Healey was when he was in his element, playing electric blues, R&B and standard rock and roll. Healey is an exceptional guitar player and a very soulful, under-rated singer and Mess of Blues lets him showcase both.

Starting with a couple of live tracks, I'm Tore Down and How Blue Can You Get showcase Healey the guitar-man rocking these two blues numbers. Later Mess of Blues has a fun side and it emerges at song #4 with Jambalaya. Healey plays this fun old gin joint jukebox standard with a fine pickin' grin and a blues-mans flair.

The albums risk is a cover of The Band's The Weight. A song that would be easy to butcher, Healey shows his artistry by delivering an enjoyable performance of a seminal rock song. The other classic rock song he covers is Neil Young's Like a Hurricane, the best version of this song I've heard.

From the title track, Mess of Blues to Shake, Rattle & Roll, Healey delivers some classic music without missing a step. He displays virtuosity and style and covers some great songs from the rock 'n roll/ blues play list.

If your taste runs like old rock 'n roll and electric blues then Jeff Healey's Mess of Blues is a CD you should get.

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