Obituary for James Lawson Rogers

Portrait by Marc Hauser
James “Jimy” Lawson Rogers of Buffalo Grove passed away Saturday, Dec. 4th of cancer. He was 63 years of age.

A memorial concert celebration and benefit will be held for the well-known entertainer Friday, Dec. 10th at Gabe's Backstage Lounge, 214 Green Bay Rd. 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, 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.