Healey, Jeff (Band) - 1988 See The Light

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ARTIST: Healey, Jeff (Band)
ALBUM: See The Light
LABEL: Arista
SERIAL: 209 441 (LP), 259 441 (CD)
YEAR: 1988

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

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

TRACK LISTING: 01 Confidence Man * 02 My Little Girl * 03 River Of No Return * 04 Don't Let Your Chance Go By * 05 Angel Eyes * 06 Nice Problem To Have * 07 Someday, Someway * 08 I Need To Be Loved * 09 Blue Jean Blues * 10 That's What They Say * 11 Hideaway * 12 See The Light

WEBLINKS: Site Link

Background

Jeff Healey is certainly an interesting story in the annals of rock. Born in Canada and adopted as an infant, he lost sight at the age of one due to a cancer of the eyes.

He started learning to play guitar at three, developing a unique style of playing it on his lap and fretting chords and notes in an upside-down manner.

He became a fixture in the Toronto music scene by his late teens. This led to his discovery, and he and bandmates Joe Rockman and Tom Stephen signed with Arista.

They also received considerable exposure by appearing in the Patrick Swayze movie 'Roadhouse' as the house band in the bar.

The Songs

Healey was an avid blues and jazz fan, and this album is heavy on the blues.

'Confidence Man' (the first single) and 'My Little Girl' are your basic 12-bar blues structure. The former is a real scorcher, and you immediately get a sense of Healey's distinct sound. His unique playing style lets him hit notes and bends that you just don't hear from other guys. And he has a voice that works very well with this style of music.

The album is a mix of songs penned by Healey and the band as well as other big-name contributors.

'River Of No Return' is more easy-going with a cool guitar riff. In fact, after listening to their first three albums several times the past couple of weeks, I'm reminded how many of these riffs have been stuck in my head since I got the albums over 20 years ago.

'Don't Let Your Chance Go By' is another slower tune. Remember back in the day when you'd get an album when it came out, not really hear anything from it on the radio for several months, and then a song just explodes as a hit single? 'Angel Eyes' was that song in 1989. It was the third single from the album, but it made it all the way to number 5 on the singles charts in the U.S. Great song that deserved its hit status.

Next is the mellow 'Nice Problem To Have' which features some nice subdued playing. Nice tune, but I've always found Healey's harder stuff to be more interesting to be honest. And his mid-tempo material can really shine too, like 'Someday, Someway' and 'I Need To Be Loved'.

'Blue Jean Blues' is the ZZ Top song from their 'Fandango' album of 1975. I've always liked 'That's What They Say', another bluesy tune that works extremely well.

The band earned a Grammy nomination for the instrumental 'Hideaway', a nice standard blues song that, while nothing new, is nicely done.

The album ends with the scorching title track (and second single), another 12-bar blues workout that contains more fiery fretwork.

In Summary

This album proved to be a nice contrast to the direction that the rock industry was taking in the late 80's, proving that there was still a market for this style of bluesy rock.

Healey may have gotten a boost in attention by being known as the blind guitarist with the different way of playing, but he and the band did put together a nice collection of blues and rock that appealed to many.

His next album moved more away from the blue sound to more of a hard rock sound.


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