Healey, Jeff (Band) - 1990 Hell To Pay


ARTIST: Healey, Jeff (Band)
ALBUM: Hell To Pay
LABEL: Arista
YEAR: 1990
CD REISSUE: 2008, Blue (Germany), SPV 305732


LINEUP: Jeff Healey - vocals, guitar * Joe Rockman - bass * Tom Stephen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Full Circle * 02 I Think I Love You Too Muc * 03 I Can't Get My Hands On You * 04 How Long Can A Man Be Strong * 05 Let It All Go * 06 Hell To Pay * 07 While My Guitar Gently Weeps * 08 Something To Hold On To * 09 How Much * 10 Highway Of Dreams * 11 Life Beyond The Sky



The Jeff Healey Band burst onto the scene in late 1988 with the impressive 'See The Light' album. Aided by the hit single 'Angel Eyes' and an appearance in the hit movie 'Roadhouse', the band was primed for album number two in 1990. The formula was altered somewhat, incorporating less blues and more rock.

The blues aspect was hardly eliminated; rather the album featured more songs that deviated from the blues sound that dominated 'See The Light'.

The Songs

The opening of 'Full Circle' sounds an awful lot like the familiar MTV riff where the MTV flag is planted on the moon. This is a more straightforward rock tune that anything on the debut album. It was the third single and got decent airplay on rock radio.

While this album didn't produce a hit at the level of 'Angel Eyes', 'I Think I Love You Too Much' (the first single) did receive a lot of airplay on rock stations. Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler was a hot commodity at that time, and he penned this song and contributed some of his trademark guitar playing. The full album version contains a much-extended version of the duet between Knopfler & Healey compared to what was usually played on the radio.

'I Can't Get My Hands On You', 'Let It All Go', and 'Hell To Pay' are all nice tunes. Fitting between the first & second of those is 'How Long Can A Man Be Strong'. I consider this the 'Angel Eyes' of this album, and I'm really surprised it didn't do better as a single. I would have chosen it to be the second rather than the fourth single.

The George Harrison song 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' gets pretty darn good treatment here, the band putting their stamp on it very convincingly. As the second single, it did well on the rock chart in the U.S.

Continuing the string of excellent songs is 'Something To Hold On To', which I consider to be one of their best tunes. 'How Much' is another one that is not too different but still very good.

'Highway Of Dreams' would be my least favourite song on the album - not bad, but just not as interesting as the others. The album ends with the easygoing 'Life Beyond The Sky'.

In Summary

While this album didn't make as large a mark as the debut, it is one that I enjoyed even more.

The emphasis on the blues sound was replaced with more of a rock sensibility, and the band proved that they could pull that off very well.

Healey's playing overall is not quite as scorching as it is on some of the songs from 'See The Light', but that does not diminish its quality in the least. Another album that should appeal to most of us.

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