RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

The Jeff Healey Band: Live At The Horseshoe Tavern 1993
Eagle Rock Entertainment

Rating: A+

There are albums to be played when it’s time to sit down and chill out. There are albums to be played when you need to focus on a task and need an inspiring background layer of music. Then, there are albums to be played when you really want to crank up the volume and get everyone at the party happily willing to scream at their friends in order to have a conversation.

Live At The Horseshoe Tavern 1993 is exactly that kind of album. It is a sin against the blues to play this album at a volume level lower than one that endangers the integrity of your speakers. This is classic blues material played by a master guitarist with a fantastic band in front of a small but highly enthusiastic crowd. It is the ultimate Saturday night out on the town, with your girlfriend on your arm, going to some local bar and listening in amazement while someone plays the hell out of his guitar. Healey lays it down and you just want more.

Live At The Horseshoe Tavern 1993 contains several nice surprises. Along with Healey’s stunning electric guitar chops is a very nice three song acoustic set midway through the album. It really showcases Healey’s diverse talents. The songs are sung with passion and fit perfectly in the overall set. The album has a wonderful track listing that gives the listener a true live performance feeling. It’s doesn’t have that pieced together sound so many live albums give us. There is that natural intimacy present between a killer band and a responsive crowd. I wish more live albums sounded this pure.

Forget about the whole sightless thing. Forget about the highly unconventional way the guitar is being played. Forget about what has to be overcome just for someone to even play like that. Who gives a damn. This album doesn’t need or want the accommodation asterisk; it just flat out rocks on its own. The man was an amazing artist who is greatly missed.

I give this album an A+. When doing so I kept asking myself “are you sure you don’t want to save that high of a rating for the best of the best”? Well, that’s exactly what I did. After the four hundredth time listening Live At The Horseshoe Tavern 1993 this week I really can’t find any reason to justify giving it a lower rating. At the end of the day I would have dearly loved to have been in the audience that night, and I would have left the venue scratching my head in amazement.

What better metric is there to use?

Track Listing:

  1. Baby’s Lookin’ Hot
  2. The House That Love Built
  3. Blue Jean Blues
  4. I think I Love You Too Much
  5. Heart Of An Angel
  6. That’s What They Say
  7. You’re Coming Home
  8. Angel Eyes
  9. Roadhouse Blues
  10. See The Light
  11. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  12. The Thrill Is Gone

By Roy Rahl