Chicago Blues Sound Will Fill W. Chester Club Jimmy Rogers Helped Develop It In The 1950s When He Played With Muddy Waters.

Posted: September 13, 1992

The sound of his electric guitar rang out over Wembley Soccer Stadium, and as 69-year-old Jimmy Rogers began to sing a song he had composed, "Walkin' By Myself," his audience sang along.

As a guest performer at the Rolling Stones blues tribute in June, Rogers provided the English crowd with authentic postwar Chicago blues, a combination of tender Mississippi Delta blues and aggressive Chicago rhythm. It was the sound that he helped develop in the 1950s when he played with legendary bluesman Muddy Waters.

"Jimmy and Muddy Waters basically created Chicago blues," said Chet Woodward, a West Chester drummer who has booked Rogers at La Trattoria East, a restaurant in a West Chester shopping plaza at 527 E. Gay St.

The Wednesday night performance begins at 10. Tickets are $6.

Woodward laughed when asked about the size of the restaurant.

"I just booked a guy who sold 100,000 seats at Wembley Stadium.

"This place only has 150 seats.

"We don't even have a stage," he said, adding that the restaurant operator promised to knock out a wall to accommodate the forthcoming series of blues performances.

When he backed Muddy Waters, Rogers was known for his warm, laid-back singing and sturdy, controlled playing.

His style has not changed, according to Woodward.

"It's not a biting guitar. He has a real subtle style and a powerful voice with a fair range," he said.

Woodward met Rogers 10 years ago through Rogers' harmonica player, Steve Guyger of Willow Grove. Guyger jams with Ragged but Right, the restaurant's house band, when he isn't touring with the All Star Band.

Besides Guyger, another local, Rich Yescalis of Warminister, accompanies

Rogers on bass guitar.

Ted Harvey, formerly with bluesman Hound Dog Taylor, plays drums; Piano Willy will be at the keyboard, and Rogers' son, Jimmy Lane, will play guitar.

Thirteen songs composed by Rogers made the R&B charts between 1954 and 1967, says his agent, Tom Radai of Blues Management in Milwaukee.

One version of Rogers' "Walkin' By Myself," recorded by English rock- blues performer Gary Moore, sold 3 1/2 million copies.

So why is he playing the small-club circuit?

Radai explained that fame is not the same for a blues legend and a rock star.

"It doesn't equate in dollars (on the R&B charts) like it does on the pop charts," he said.

Besides "Walkin' By Myself," Rogers is expected to perform songs from his latest album, Ludella (Antone), including "Ludella," "That's All Right," ''Walkin' in the Park," "Goin' Away Baby" and his best-known "Chicago Bound."

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