Classic albums A-Z: Jeff Healey Band – Cover to Cover (1995)



Cover to Cover’, the second covers album in this series, has a place notably for the inclusion of three particular tracks – ‘Stop Breakin Down’, ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ and ‘Badge’.  Part of my reason for writing this series is to showcase some albums I’m really pleased to own. So I’ve no qualms about sharing the meritoriousness of each. But first a bit about Jeff.

Born in 1966 in Toronto, Canada, Jeff Healey, blind from eye cancer at the age of 12 months, taught himself to play guitar after getting his first for his third birthday. He formed his first band when he has 15. Four years later he caught the eye of a much impressed Albert Collins and formed the Jeff Healey Band. Self-producing several singles and playing across Canada eventually landed the band a signing with Arista Records in 1988. Moving between blues and jazz in later years, he sadly succumbed again to cancer and passed away in 2008 aged just 41.

‘Stop Breakin Down’ was originally penned by Robert Johnson in 1937. Since then the song’s been covered countless times but remains one of my all-time favourite blues anthems, up there with ‘Dust my broom’ and ‘ Bullfrog Blues’. Notably covered by the Rolling Stones on their 1972 album ‘Exile on Main Street’, the Jeff Healey version here still has the edge for me.

‘Stuck in the Middle with you’ was written by Gerry Rafferty and was a successful hit for the fledgling ‘Stealers Wheel’ in 1973. However, good as that was, this version brings the song screamingly into the 20th century and gets me every time.

And finally ‘Badge’. A film which had a profound effect on me when I first saw it around four years after its release was Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 classic ‘If’ starring Malcolm McDowell. Cream’s haunted ‘Badge’ features in the soundtrack, the films’ central characters air-guitaring on tennis racquets along to Eric Clapton’s guitar solo. This version recaptures some of that memory for me.

Full track listing
  1. Shapes of things
  2. Freedom
  3. Yer Blues
  4. Stop Breakin Down
  5. Angel
  6. Evil
  7. Stuck in the middle with you
  8. I got a line on you
  9. Run through the jungle
  10. As the years go passing by
  11. I’m ready
  12. Badge
  13. Communication Breakdown
  14. Me and my crazy self
  • Jeff Healey (guitars/vocals)
  • Joe Rockman (bass)
  • Tom Stephen (drums)

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