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Blue Bird

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Album Review

This was Jimmy Rogers' last "proper" Chicago blues album, and it deservedly won a W.C. Handy Award in 1995. There are no moonlighting rock stars here; they would come out in droves for Rogers' subsequent album Blues Blues Blues. And with the exception of the last track — which is basically pianist Johnnie Johnson showing off for eight minutes — Rogers sits squarely in the spotlight for the duration of Blue Bird. As expected, Rogers revisits a fair amount of his earlier repertoire ("Walking By Myself," "I Lost a Good Woman"), but he also digs up several original tunes that he had never gotten around to recording until now. Throw in a few Chicago standards ("Big Boss Man," "Rock Me," "Smokestack Lightning"), and you have a solid, laid-back, and tremendously satisfying album by one of the underrated masters. The backing band is a mix of Chicago blues brethren (Carey Bell on harp, Dave Myers on bass, Ted Harvey on drums) and family (Rogers' son Jimmy D. Lane on lead guitar), plus Johnson, who is perhaps a rock star by association since he played with Chuck Berry for 18 years. This one's a must-have.

Biography

Born: June 3, 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 Chicago elder boasting a seminal '50s Chess Records catalog, both behind Waters and on his own. Born James A. Lane (Rogers was his stepdad's surname), the...
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