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Chicagoland lost one of its most soulful and beloved rockers on Dec. 4, when Highland Park native James "Jimy" Rogers, lead vocalist of The Mauds, lost his battle with cancer at the age of 63.

The Mauds were part of the 1960s Chicago music scene that included The Buckinghams, Cryan Shames, New Colony Six, Ides Of March and Shadows of Knight.

In fact, it was Shadows frontman/vocalist Jimy Sohns who first discovered and championed The Mauds in 1966. Sohns helped get them gigs and was instrumental in their signing with Mercury Records, where in 1967 they gained fame with their debut single, a cover of the Sam & Dave hit "Hold On."

"I rehearsed the first line–up of The Mauds when Jimy was still in high school and hand picked them to replace us (the Shadows of Knight as the house band) when we left The Cellar to play other places," posted Sohns on Facebook this week while remembering his friend. "Jimy even toured and sang (in my place) with The Shadows when I was sick."

Following "Hold On," The Mauds released the biggest single of their career, "Soul Drippin'," which featured some young brass players who soon after became the foundation of the legendary recording group Chicago.

Unlike his Chicago contemporaries who had a more pop sound and were mostly inspired and influenced by the Beatles, Rogers cooked up a much more soulful musical stew that worked well with raspy vocal style. Rogers was a disciple of rhythm and blues.

"I remember watching Jimy and The Mauds back in 1970 at the Wild Goose at an outdoors show in Oak Lawn," said Jim Peterik, of Ides Of March. "What a supreme frontman Jimy was. He was one of my role models from that moment on and "Soul Drippin'" is still one of my all–time favorite songs."

Like so many of the great Chicagoland groups of the 1960s, The Mauds, disbanded in 1971, after just a few years and a handful of hits together. After a few short–lived, post–Mauds bands, Rogers retired from the music business and spent many years in California as a barber.

Inspired by successful latter day revivals of his '60s–era peers like Shadows of Knight, The Buckinghams and The Ides, Rogers reformed a new version of The Mauds in 2000 and had been performing with them up until his death. Rogers also sang with a band called Blue Room in area clubs in recent years.

Rogers was a mover and shaker during the era that put Chicago on the rock 'n' roll map in a big way. He leave behind a legion of fans that will miss him dearly.

Friends and fans are holding an 8:30 p.m. Dec. 10 memorial concert to celebrate Rogers' life at Gabe's Backstage Lounge, 214 Green Bay Road, in Highwood, Ill. FYI: THEMAUDS.COM


• I will be guest host of "The 4th Annual Kids Rocking For Kids Toys For Tots" concert this Saturday. The event at the Moose Lodge, 602 Broadway, in Chesterton, is organized each year by region rock fan Tom Jaeger.

Seven young rock bands perform, starting with End Of A Hero at 5 p.m. Dec. 11. Followed in order by The Drive By Insults, The Getbacks, Quietus, Skyline Savior, Asteria and Drivven.

A silent auction will include autographed items by Chicago Blackhawk legend Bobby Hull, the rock group Chevelle and others. A cash bar and food will be available. Cost is a new unwrapped toy or $5 donation. FYI: (219) 926–7585 or (219) 628–1661

• "Decembersongs" comes to The Old School of Folk Music, 4544 North Lincoln Ave., in Chicago on Saturday. The unique holiday show features singer/songwriters Amy Spence, Jon Vezner, Sally Barris and Dan Navarro (of Lowen & Navarro fame).

"Decembersongs was Amy's idea, to combine four established writer–artists doing something special for the holidays," Navarro said. "So for 11 nights, we'll do two hours of trading songs back and forth. We're doing mostly holiday tunes, with occasional non-holiday fan favorites thrown in." FYI: DANNAVARRO.COM

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