Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Forgotten Hits Remembers Jimy Rogers

Just like he did throughout his career, Jimy Rogers is still rockin' our world ... only this time it's due to the reaction to the shocking news of his death this past weekend.

One of Chicago Rock's greatest vocal performers, Jimy never really got his due on a national level ... but he was a well-loved treasure here in Chi-Town. The remembrances and accolades are still pouring in, both by phone and by email. Here are just a few:

Totally shocking! I get the emails all the time about where the guys are playing, but this is very sad news. I tried to get a Mauds CD of their Mercury 60's years released two years ago. Today, I sent feelers out to two companies I work with. I hope someone will do Jimy and the guys proud. Rest in Peace.
Clark Besch

How Very Sad.
Sue Patterson

Hi guys ...
Just got word Jimy passed away today ... so sad.
I am in shock. We just went by his house last Sunday to see him ... he was very optimistic about his treatment ... this is so sad.
A great Chicago legend is gone ... RIP Jimy.
Irene Beecroft

A memorial concert celebration and benefit will be held Friday, December 10, 2010, with Blue Road and special guests from 8:30 - midnight at at Gabe's Backstage Lounge, 214 Green Bay Rd. Highwood IL 60040. His spirit will live on through the wonderful music he created. Donations will be accepted to help defray his medical expenses.
Please let everyone know.

Joan Gand

So sad to hear about Jimy Rogers. The last time I saw him was at Dean Milano's book signing at the Abbey last year. Very personable, as he spent a few minutes talking to each and every one of his fans at the book signing. He will be missed.
Mike De Martino

Lovejoy Music Club

I'm stunned, Kent.

Forgotten Hits was where I learned of Jimy Rogers passing. As you noted, he always looked in tip-top shape, and always appeared much younger than his true age. Apparently he died of cancer, but I didn't know he was ill. He was truly a one-of-a-kind vocalist, and as energetic as they came. I was fortunate to meet Jimy several times, and he invited me to his home to peruse his Mauds' memorabilia. He always enjoyed talking about the band's heyday, and was very generous in sharing photos and other Maud's mementos with me. I didn't know him well, but it's obvious he was one of the good guys. My condolences to his family and friends, and to great music lovers everywhere.
Mike Dugo

Really sad news about Jimy Rogers ... a powerhouse voice and a good friend ... he will surely be missed.


My dear friend Jimy Rogers, the other Jimy with one m, died of cancer this past weekend.

As some of you know, I rehearsed the first lineup of the Mauds when Jimy was in high school and hand picked them to replace us when we left the Cellar to play other places - he even toured as me in the Shadows when I was sick.
We have always been close and he will always be in my heart.
I loved Jimy Rogers for the kind, gentle soul he is and the amazing talent he shared with us ... when I listen to the wind, I will still hear him sing.
Hold on, Jimy, some day we will finally be in the same band.
Rest in Peace My Friend,
The Shadows Of Knight

As you know, Kent, we just did a show with both The Mauds and Blue Road on September 4th; I had no clue he was even sick and Jimy did not say a word, although we spoke at length following the appearance.
Mike Bush and Moe the Photographer both took a bunch of photos that evening – Mike came backstage and took a number of shots of Jimy and me; hoping MB winds up sharing some of those with me. I know Moe posted the ones he took on his facebook site but cannot recall his exact address here at the office. That would explain, perhaps, why he was not present for either of the Bob Stroud charity CD shows; he almost always came by to share a tune or two. Jimy was a kind and seemingly very gentle soul and, as you said, a Hades of a performer; he is already missed.
Enough of these losses already, eh? I guess we should really expect them to continue and increase over the next decade but each peer who precedes me to the next life, especially local folks whom I came to know and love over these many years, is that much more difficult to handle.
Peace to you, Frannie and Paige these coming weeks;
I have strong faith that Jimy is no longer in need of that wish – surely he resides today in a “better place”
Ray Graffia, Jr.

The New Colony Six

I talked with Jim Pilster the day after Jimy passed away and he said the same thing ... not so much as an inkling that Jimy was sick or suffering ... and they shared the stage pretty regularly these past few years as part of Hooke's on-going "Chicago Gold" series. (In fact, I think Pilster's a little pissed at him in his own way ... for NOT saying something so that Hooke could help show some of the love and support that bonds ALL of you great artists who tore up the scene here locally in the '60's.) Think about that for a minute ... some of these friendships and kinships go back 45 years now!!!

The Mauds never got the recognition and credit they deserved ... probably because they weren't your normal, run-of-the-mill pop band ... but a record like "Soul Drippin'" (written, as we learned this past year, by Daddy Dewdrop of "Chick-A-Boom" fame!) SHOULD have been a smash!!! (If nothing else, it should be recognized as one of the earliest pressings of the Chicago horn section on record!)

Jimy got a little irritated with me a year or two ago when I made a comment about his weight in Forgotten Hits, even though it was meant in the most complimentary way.
In comments I never published then (because he asked me not to), he told me that he worked VERY hard to maintain his health, his body and his weight ... without question, the man took VERY good care of himself ... as recently as last year, he was still the same size and weight as he was the day he graduated High School ... and not too many of us (myself included!) can make THAT claim today!!!

I mention this now because Jimy just seemed SO damn healthy ... the fact that he was able to hide his illness from some of his closest friends and contemporaries shows you just how proud a man he really was. (It also shows us once again that once cancer picks you, it's a tough demon to overcome.) Despite whatever may have been literally eating Jimy up inside, he would still go up on stage night after night after night and, for a few hours anyway, completely escape the reality of his own situation to bring joy and happiness to all of those around him. Jimy LOVED to sing and he loved to entertain ... and I truly believe that those few hours on stage worked far more medical miracles than any conventional medicine we've come up with thus far.

All I can tell you is this ... whatever he weighed ... and I'll bet it wasn't much more than 120-125 pounds ... every bit of it was bulk-packed with pure vocal dynamite ... Jimy's voice only continued to improve with age. He ALWAYS showed a GREAT appreciation for his audience and his fans, always coming out into the crowd to make sure everybody was having a good time.
As frustrating as I'm sure it was at times (having never achieved the amount of success he truly deserved), he still loved to perform and made every appearance a "keeper".

Quent Lang, who shared the stage with Jimy for many years as part of the re-vamped Mauds of the early 2000's told me that he'd never heard a better R&B / Soulful / Blues Voice come out of this great city of ours ... Jimy was one of the best. He remembered standing ovations and sold out crowds at appearances at Ravinia that will always remain amongst his most treasured memories ... and he thanks Jimy for allowing him to share this experience with him.

Bob Stroud was noticeably emotional when he dedicated Monday's edition of "One 45 at 1:45" to Jimy and the Mauds by featuring their first local hit "Hold On" from 1967. Incredibly, here in Chicago, it was The Mauds' version that charted instead of the Sam and Dave original! (A few years ago we featured BOTH versions of this single ... the commercial version that we all know and love ... as well as the "edited" / "cleaned-up" version that WLS demanded minus the "I'm comin'" line for airplay purposes. It sure was a different time on the radio back then, wasn't it!!!) Both "Hold On" and their biggest hit the following year, "Soul Drippin'", made their CD debuts on Bob Stroud's "Rock And Roll Roots" CD series.

Joan Gand, who is turning this Friday Night's appearance at Gabe's Backstage Lounge in Highwood into a musical celebration and remembrance, is promising a whole lot of music, laughter and tears ... and, as a close personal friend AND bandmate of Jimy Rogers, she knows of what she speaks ... it'll be a very moving night that promises to deliver all of the above.

More details (and the official obituary ... along with a Tribune article by Margaret Ramirez follow.)

James "Jimy" Rogers passed away Saturday, December 4th of cancer. He was 63 years of age.
A memorial concert celebration and benefit will be held for the well-known entertainer Friday, December 10th, at Gabe's Backstage Lounge, 214 Green Bay Rd. in Highwood from 8:30 – midnight. The Blue Road Band will perform with special guests giving tributes, both spoken and musical, from 8:30 - midnight. Donations will be accepted to the Jimy Rogers memorial medical fund.
Born in Highland Park, IL, Rogers attended Highland Park and Stevenson High Schools before being discovered and signed to Mercury Records. Jimy recorded at Chess Studios while still in his teens. Rogers was well known as one of the first “blue-eyed” soul singers in the early 1960’s. He helped create the “Chicago horn sound” with his band, the Mauds.
Jimy worked with music icons Chicago, Curtis Mayfield, Buddy Miles, Carole King, Stephen Stills, Jerry Butler, Al Kooper and Otis Redding. One of the greatest honors in Rogers career was being asked to sing at a memorial concert the night Otis Redding was killed. Later signed to RCA, he worked with producer Lou Adler (Mama’s and Papa’s, Carole King) and played arenas as the band “Flash.” Rogers also sang on commercials and studio projects for famed producer Dick Marx, father of pop singer Richard Marx.
After taking time off from performing to live in California, Rogers returned home to take care of his ailing mother after his father died. The Mauds reformed in 2000 and continued playing and recording, most recently as a 10-piece band, including sold-out appearances at Ravinia Festival and Park West. From 2007 – 2010, Rogers performed with the popular blues / rock / soul band Blue Road at theaters, blues clubs and the Chicago Blues Festival. His CD with Blue Road was chosen for the “Top 11” CD’s of 2009 in the
Always the consummate performer, Rogers got to know his fans well and spent time out in the audience chatting at every show.
In his spare time, Rogers enjoyed spending time with friends and his dog, Rocky, working in his garden, hiking, camping, and jamming in his home studio. Rogers’ youthful appearance and smile could light up a room, and his friends describe him as sweet, loving, humble and caring. Beloved by all whose lives were touched by his energetic and soulful personality and music, he will be greatly missed.

James 'Jimy' Rogers, 1947-2010
Lead singer of local 1960s soul band the Mauds
By Margaret Ramirez, Chicago Tribune reporter
James "Jimy" Rogers, 63, a raspy-voiced singer who belted out soulful music as lead vocalist of the Mauds, died of cancer Saturday, Dec. 4, at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, according to friends.
In 1967, Mr. Rogers and the Mauds gained fame when Mercury Records nationally released their first single, "Hold On," a cover of a classic originally recorded by legendary soul duo Sam & Dave.
The next year, they scored another hit with "Soul Drippin'," backed by the horn section of a new band called the
Chicago Transit Authority — soon to be renamed Chicago.
In 1971, the Mauds broke up. But, in 2000, Mr. Rogers revived the band with new musicians and started playing at venues in the northwest suburbs. In recent years, he also performed with the band Blue Road at nightclubs and the
Chicago Blues Festival.
"His voice was huge," said Joan Gand, friend and keyboardist for Blue Road. "He had this big, raspy soulful voice and when he sang everyone felt connected to him."
James Lawson Rogers was born in Highland Park and attended Highland Park and Stevenson high schools. In 1965, he pulled together a group of North Shore friends and formed the Mauds, a play on the 1960s British slang expression "mod," meaning modern.
While the Beatles were dominating the rock music scene, the Mauds stood apart from other Chicago bands due to their interest in black soul singers, according to a biography by radio veteran Bob Stroud. The Mauds' secret weapon was Mr. Rogers' unique voice.
"Lead singer Jimy Rogers possessed the beginnings of a truly legitimate set of blue-eyed soul pipes," wrote Stroud. "Under the cover of night, these five teenage, suburban white boys were sneaking into the various South side soul emporiums to bear witness to their heroes … Sam & Dave, [
Otis] Redding and [Curtis] Mayfield."
After their two big hits, the band released a string of singles before parting ways in 1971.
In his career, Mr. Rogers worked with Buddy Miles,
Carole King, Stephen Stills, Jerry Butler and Al Kooper. He told friends that one of the greatest honors of his career was being asked to sing at a memorial concert the night Otis Redding was killed.
After the Mauds, he formed a short-lived band called "Flash," then moved to
California, where he became a barber.
In the 1980s, Mr. Rogers returned to Illinois to take care of his ailing mother. Concert organizers contacted him about reuniting with the Mauds for a 1999 show celebrating the Cellar, a legendary '60s music venue in Arlington Heights.
"When we played at a Cellar bands' reunion show … it was like we were back in the 1960s again," Mr. Rogers told the Tribune. "The crowd was going wild, and it felt so good. It made me remember what a good effect the band had on people."
Mr. Rogers hoped for a permanent Mauds reunion. But when original members were unavailable, he searched for fresh talent and put together a new band in 2000.
The new Mauds continued playing and recording, most recently as a 10-piece band, including sold-out appearances at
Ravinia Festival and the Park West.
Though Mr. Rogers was charismatic onstage, friends said he was quiet and introspective. In his free time, he enjoyed spending time with his dog, Rocky, working in his garden, camping and hiking.
"He was different offstage," said Gand. "He was very soft-spoken and caring and generous."
He is survived by his sister, Barbara Rogers-Powers.
A memorial concert celebration and benefit will be held from 8:30 p.m. to midnight on Friday at Gabe's Backstage Lounge, 214 Green Bay Rd. in Highwood. Blue Road will perform with special guests.

Finally, as our means of honoring this great Chicago artist ...
AND in keeping with the Christmas Spirit of the holiday season ...
here is Jimy Rogers and Blue Road performing "White Christmas".

The CD Single is available through the following websites:

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Jimy Rogers
James "Jimy" Rogers 1947 - 2010
Beloved by all whose lives were touched by his energetic and soulful personality and music, he will be greatly missed.
Jimy was ... the legend of Chicago 60's soul ... a light that burned so very bright ... a sweet spirit whose music touched our hearts ... a humble generous man who had a smile for everyone
This Friday, December 10, from 8:30 - Midnight ... A memorial concert celebration and benefit will be held for Jimy, who passed away on December 4 from cancer.
Blue Road will perform with special guests giving tributes, both spoken and musical.
Our wonderful bassist Steve Nevets will be featured on vocals
Gabe's Backstage Lounge
214 Greenbay Rd.
Highwood, IL
Donations will be accepted to the Jimy Rogers medical fund
Also, Saturday December 11, Blue Road will be playing @ Walnut Speakeasy in Elgin,
214 Walnut Avenue, from 9:00 p.m. - Midnight ...
Laugh and cry with us ... and remember Jimy.
A Great Gift for the Holidays: Blue Road CD "single"
Includes Merry Christmas Baby and White Christmas, beautifully sung by Jimy Rogers
Available at our shows or contact us through the website link below ...
Or hear samples and download on Tunes or CD Baby for .99 each
click here