Live At Healey's - The Thursday Night Recordings is a superb collection of special guest spots at the famous Toronto landmark blues club Healey's. Healey's is co-owned by guitarist extraordinaire, Jeff Healey, along with his two partners, Phil Morrison and Stuart McKendrick (who along with Jeff are the CD's executive producers.) This club is one of the main hotspots for blues and quality rock here in Toronto.
Every Thursday night at Healey's Jeff and his musical sidekick and long-time friend Jerome Godboo, invite very special musical guests to share the spotlight on their great stage. The lighting's right … so is the mix; each and every week (and each night or matinee for that matter) that the club's doors are open to the avid fans that frequent this popular establishment.
Every known blues band around has played here. From Anson Funderburg and Sam Myers, to Son Seals, Omar and the Howlers (with vocalist Brian Templeton), as well as Levon Helm and The Barnburners -- the star blues roster is huge! Some of these bands or stars from these bands have been showcased at the Thursday night special guest spots at Healey's. One of the most memorable for me was Roy Young, who was piano player for the Beatles in 1962. He also played for Tony Sheridan in Hamburg, Germany back then; and told the Beatles to fire Pete Best and hire Ringo. Roy still rocks his rock 'n roll piano, and has a new CD coming out soon. (see www.royyoung.com)
Some of the finest local talent on par with the above-mentioned superstars of music, is featured on this rousing Live At Healey's CD. Godboo hand-picked all the talent for the Thursday night guest-spots, along with Jeff's knowledgeable input. Godboo is an incredible harp player and vocalist. He performs with Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins when not in his own awesome band. (He's played for ex-U.S. President Bill Clinton in the Hawk's band!)
Most tracks on this CD feature Jeff on guitar and Jerome on harp. However, some of these fine tunes only feature the guest bands themselves - the first track, is one of these. "World Gone Crazy" features the Juno Award-winning Michael Pickett Band, with harp ace Michael Pickett on harp and vocals. His hard-driving blues band has performed at Healey's several times. They play their hearts out at every performance, and it shows on this winner.
The next tune on this fabulous CD is the classic Robert Johnson composition, "Kind Hearted Woman". It features 11-year-old guitarist/vocalist Jimmy Bowskill. His sincere vocals singing "I really love that woman .. Can't stand to leave her be", are sung from the heart. Although still a child (blues prodigy), Bowskill displays true devotion to the blues genre on vocals and guitar. Mike Fitzpatrick plays drums on this one. He's been on the music scene since the late '60s Toronto Sound days, and is now drummer for the Downchild Blues Band. The crowd roars a very live approval in various parts of this song. Jeff's guitar genius is heard here too, to great effect. He was in Little Jimmy's shoes at one time, and is helping pave the way for this young blues guitarist and vocalist to carry on the blues tradition as others have before him. "Kind Hearted … " also features Godboo's bluesy harp, along with Alec Fraser's imaginative bass lines. (Fraser is bassist for ex-Muddy Waters drummer, Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith.) Jeff felt compelled to finish this classic Johnson tune with some scorching guitar leads. For him that's as natural as water pouring out of a tap.
Chuck Jackson, vocalist and harp player for Downchild, is the next special guest featured. He sings and plays harp to great effect on a unique and bluesy "House of the Rising Sun". I've never heard a swing-blues version of this well-known tune before. It's a unique interpretation! Healey's guitar soloing adds class and charm to the proceedings. Shannon Fayth is a talented singer, who also happens to be one of the beautiful servers at Healeys. She's toured with Jeff in her own band, and hosts the Healey's Tuesday night jam. She's featured on the funky, r&b classic "Feelin' Alright"; a Dave Mason composition. Shannon's soulful vocals, along with Jeff's scorching guitar riffs and Randy Cook's wild drumming, help this tune go over well.
Some all-out hard-drivin' blues comes to us, with Joe Turner's rousing "The Sun Is Shining". It features special guest Mango Kid, on raw, uninhibited vocals that could wake the 'blues dead'! Mike Pellarin's hypnotic bass lines complement Jerome's soulfully wild harp playing. Both add to the ballistic intensity of Goddo's Greg Godovitz on rhythm and lead guitar. Damian Orokium's incredible guitar leads are showcased here too, as are Doug Inglis' drum intensity. All this great talent combined, sends this incredible tune over the top in a big way!!!
Suzie McNeil supplies some energetic r&b vocals, drenched in soul on "Sexy Ida". She sounds as powerful as a 'white Aretha' in her delivery of this Tina Turner classic. The guitar work on the next tune sounds very much like it's from the great B.B. King. It's not however. It's Jeff again, on vocals and out-of-this-world interpretive guitar licks on "Back O' Town Blues". The blues is slow, sweet and seductive on "Back 'O .. ", the way it's supposed to be! Jeff asks Jerome a musical question, and he answers it the best he knows how - on some fabulous harp licks that speak the blues from a deep spiritual soul. Jeff comes up with some wild, scorching leads on this tune; perfectly matching his raw, bluesy vocals.
Just when you think you've heard it all, along comes a jazzy and very inventive Louis Armstrong composition, "Old Man Mose". Special guest Jake Chisolm's rousing vocals and exactingly executed guitar licks, speak volumes about the talent and class Chisolm delivers on this fine song. Terry Wilkins, a local bass legend (ex-Carole Pope), delivers well-conceived and rousing bass lines, along with drummer Al Cross' intricate drumming and Jeff's imaginative guitar creativity.
Dawn Tyler Watson is one of Canada's top blues Divas. She graces the stage next with "Cigarette". Dawn's soulfully bluesy vocal delivery is backed up admirably by Jeff's jazzy guitar chords and leads. Added to this is Pat Rush's slide guitar wizardry, Gary Kendall's (Downchild) insightful bass lines, and Tom Bona's (Raoul/Sue Foley) in-the-pocket drumming. Tyler Viaene's keys lend substance to this Watson/Ryan composition.
Atomic explosiveness bursts forth with Z.Z. Top's "She Loves My Automobile". Big Ben Richardson's powerful vocals and hard-drivin' bass lines are the best around -- hypnotic and musically transcendental all at the same time. The high-dynamo dual drumming here is provided courtesy of Eric Paul and Al Webster. No wonder the drums on this tune are so overpoweringly enjoyable. Rush's scorching guitar riffs here, come from years of playing with some of the best around, including guitarist Johnny Winter and harp legend, James Cotton. Local guitar great Darren Gallen provides some amazing riffs of his own on this energetic rouser. He's always a pleasure to see on stage, sitting in with some of the top bands around; as well as being lead guitarist in Maple Blues Award-winning Raoul and the Big Time.
Edgar Winter was a special guest at Healey's on one occasion. Although he's not included on this diversified and well-planned-out compilation, his big hit song "Frankenstein" is! It features Rush's rousing guitar riffs, Big Ben's brash bass lines and more of Gallen's guitar excellence. "Frankenstein" is one of the best rock songs to come out of the '70s, and still holds its own -- as ably proven here.
"Voodoo Child" is the final live tune on this awesome CD. It features Jeff's Hendrix-inspired wawa pedal guitar riffs and scorching, interpretive leads. Jerome sings the vocals on this one, with heart and soul. Godovitz and Gallen supply some incredible guitar riffs of their own here. Inglis' drumming expertise outdoes itself, as does JJ White's intoxicatingly imaginative bass lines -- Now the 'club' of Healey's 'All Stars' is complete!
178 Bathurst Street
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