Friday, November 3, 2017

A Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume One, Track Thirteen

For our next Blues Fix Mix CD track, we are going back a bit to the 1950's.......1957 to be exact.  I've always been a fan of the artists who recorded for Chess Records.  Some of the first vintage blues recordings I heard were from Chess, thanks to MCA Records reissuing some of Chess's classic sides in the mid-late 80's, which was about the time I started listening to the blues.  I heard all of the stars from the label......Muddy, the Wolf,  Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, etc......, but my favorite ended up being Jimmy Rogers.

Rogers' brand of blues really resonated with me.  I always liked his relaxed vocal style, always expressive and never over the top or overdone.  His guitar work was always sturdy and workmanlike.  His songs were pretty memorable, too, and the supporting cast on his recordings was always a blues fan's dream band.  Of course, he was part of what many consider the blues Dream Team......Muddy Waters' band that consisted of Waters, Rogers, Little Walter, Otis Spann, dubbed "The Headhunters" for their habit of dropping in on other musicians' gigs, and either outperforming them on their own stage, or stealing their gigs completely.

During the 50's, Rogers recorded several songs as a front man for Chess.....many of which are now considered standards.  Over the past 60 years, many a blues band has covered "You're Sweet," "That's All Right," "Ludella," "Chicago Bound," "Sloppy Drunk," and my personal favorite, which is track thirteen on this mix CD, "Walking By Myself."  He also served as a go-to session guitarist for Chess.

"Walking By Myself," recorded in 1957, was inspired by a T-Bone Walker song called "Why Not," which the legendary guitarist recorded during a Chicago session for Atlantic Records where Rogers backed him on rhythm guitar.  It can be heard on Walker's essential release, T-Bone Blues.  "Walking By Myself" became Rogers' only hit on the Billboard R&B chart. 

By the end of the 50's, the blues had fallen out of favor with music lovers and Rogers' musical opportunities waned.  He left the business for about a decade, running a clothing store in Chicago through most of the 60's.  When his store was burned to the ground during the riots which followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., he gradually returned to performing and recording, releasing several fine albums which showed his skills to be virtually intact.  He worked steadily until shortly before his death from cancer in late 1997.

FBF did a profile of Rogers in 2011 which can be found here.

Rogers left a strong catalog of fine music......his later recordings compared very favorably with his early Chess recordings.  One of the steadiest, and underrated of the 50's blues giants, Jimmy Rogers deserves to be heard.  Here's track thirteen, my favorite of his tunes.

As a bonus, here's the track from T-Bone Walker that inspired the Rogers' classic.....

Your Blues Fix Mix CD (Volume One) to date......

Track 1:  "Cold Women With Warm Hearts," Magic Slim & the Teardrops
Track 2:  "Son of Juke," Billy Branch
Track 3:  "Feel Like Blowing My Horn," Robert Lockwood, Jr.
Track 4:  "Big Boy Now," Big Jack Johnson
Track 5:  "Blues Man," B.B. King
Track 6"  "Four Cars Running," Larry Garner
Track 7:  "Cadillac Blues," Johnnie Bassett & the Blues Insurgents
Track 8:  "Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues," Skip James
Track 9:  "Double Trouble" (Live), Otis Rush
Track 10:  "She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride," Taj Mahal
Track 11:  "Give Me Back My Wig," Luther Allison
Track 12:  "Garbage Man," Bernard Allison
Track 13:  "Walking By Myself," Jimmy Rogers

More to come......

No comments: