Jeff Healey jams at Vancouver’s Yale Pub before tearing up the Town Pump with a feedback-laden “Oh Canada”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 8, 1988

By Steve Newton

Jeff Healey loves to play guitar. Two long, sweat-soaked nights at the Town Pump obviously weren’t going to be enough for the blind blues ace. So he could be seen down at the Yale Saturday afternoon (July 2), taking part in the pub’s harmonica contest and jamming with the likes of local harpists Calvin “Jellyroll” Kenny and Sherman Doucette.

“I don’t believe it!,” clamoured Jellyroll after blowing his top. “Me jammin’ with Jeff Healey! This is heaven.”

And it was heaven again that night for a packed house at the Pump as Healey, bassist Joe Rockman, and drummer Tom Stephen put the pedal to the metal on tunes by Cream (“White Room”), CCR (“Travelin’ Band”), Bob Dylan (“All Along the Watchtower”), and Chuck Berry (“Johnny B. Goode”).

Healey also previewed an original tune from the soundtrack to the upcoming Roadhouse movie, “One Foot on the Gravel”, a Hendrix-style blues stomper that he dedicated “to all the rock and roll musicians out there.”

When it was time for a little more harp jamming he brought out Butch Coulter for “Ramblin’ On My Mind”, and the two engaged in a wicked harp/guitar duel on “Walkin’ the Dog”. Near the end of the night the calls for “See the Light” were finally answered, and Healey got off his chair to play behind his head, as he does in that tune’s video. And since it was just after Canada Day, what better set-closer than a feedback-laden national anthem?

Jimi would have been proud.

 

 

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