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His Best

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Album Review

Jimmy Rogers, one of Chess Records' less well-known recording artists under his own name though he was a mainstay of Muddy Waters' band in the early '50s, was well-represented by the two-CD set Complete Chess Recordings issued in 1997, the year of his death. But that collection, with its numerous alternate takes, was a little more than the average blues fan needed, so this still-generous one-disc, 22-track distillation is a welcome addition to his catalog. Though Rogers did not formally launch a solo career until 1956, he was making occasional records for Chess as early as 1950, with "That's All Right" inaugurating his work as a leader. Not surprisingly, the band in which he served as guitarist backed him on these efforts, with Waters, Willie Dixon, Little Walter, and Otis Spann, among others, sitting in. The collection follows him up to his sole hit single, "Walking By Myself," and beyond, with the sound evolving from traditional Chicago electric blues in the Waters mold to more of a rock & roll sound by the last track "Rock This House." Rogers may not have the distinctiveness as a vocalist that Waters possesses, but he gets his points across and the music is classic blues of its type.

Biography

Born: 23 March 1917 in McMinnville, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active:

Smokey Rogers, for his many years playing in the California's Western swing scene, is best known for penning the classic ballad "Gone." The song went nowhere when Ferlin Husky first recorded it in 1952, but when Husky re-recorded Gone in 1956, it went straight to the top of the country charts, where it stayed for eight weeks and even crossed over to the pop charts. Rogers also co-wrote "Spanish Fandango" with Western swing king Bob Wills, which was released in 1947. In 1949, Rogers had a modest hit...
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His Best, Smokey Rogers
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