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Chicago Bound

Jimmy Rogers

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Album Review

Starkly printed in black and white with washed-out, grainy photographs, this is one heavy slab of blues by a player who is not as well-known as he should be. Guitarist Jimmy Rogers was usually overshadowed by the leaders he worked for, Muddy Waters particularly. He was also sometimes confused with the hillbilly singer Jimmie Rodgers, and although they might have sounded good together, they don't have anything in common. This reissue collection grabs 14 tracks done at various times in the mostly early '50s which involve practically a who's who of performers associated with the most intense and driving Chicago blues. This includes the aforementioned Waters, leaving behind his role as leader for a few numbers to add some stinging guitar parts. There is also a pair of harmonica players, each of whom could melt vinyl siding with their playing. These are the Walters, big and little, as in Big Walter Horton and Little Walter. Pianist Otis Spann, bassist Willie Dixon, and drummer Fred Belew are also on hand, meaning the rhythm section action is first class. Blues listeners who have only skimmed the surface of the music may not have really discovered Rogers, as his reputation increased in the years after his death and he had nowhere near the following and status of Waters or even Little Walter. Some of the tracks here are numbers the musicians got together and played with Rogers at the end of what was probably an already grueling session by Waters. "Sloppy Drunk" is a killer track that joins the long list of great blues numbers concerning the inebriated, while "Walking by Myself" is a fine example of the kind of shuffling rhythm these players are so good at. The CD era was an opportunity to put together larger selections of Rogers' material, complete with outtakes and selections that are much rarer than the material here. If a listener's reaction to this album is as positive as it ought to be, they can be assured the pickings will be equally tasty if they decide to go for more extensive documentation of this artist.

Biography

Born: 03 June 1924 in Ruleville, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Guitarist Jimmy Rogers was the last living connection to the groundbreaking first Chicago band of Muddy Waters (informally dubbed "the Headhunters" for their penchant of dropping by other musicians' gigs and "cutting their heads" with a superior on-stage performance). Instead of basking in world-wide veneration, he was merely a well-respected...
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Chicago Bound, Jimmy Rogers
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