Forty Below Records [Release date 23.02.18]
Now here’s a British blues legend of ever there was one. A noted vocalist, pianist and guitarist, John Mayall is probably best known for his band The Blues Breakers, part of the 60s blues boom who at various times featured Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor and Peter Green (all blues and rock’n’roll legends in their own right). Along the way he’s also worked with bassists Jack Bruce, Andy Fraser and John McVie, and drummers Mick Fleetwood, Aynsley Dunbar and Jon Hiseman – now THAT’s a CV.
So good is his brand of blues, and his keyboard playing, he’s been out on the road as a three piece, no guitar. And this live album is just a wonderful sounding slab of blues.
The three piece are tighter than a camel’s bum in a sandstorm, the sound fuller than Eric Pickles at an all-you-eat buffet, with Mayall’s harmonica adding an extra dimension. There’s some serious ivory tickling going on, especially on ‘The Sum Of Something’ and ‘Feel So Bad’, the latter much bluesier than Foghat’s more r’n’b interpretation. Mayall’s own ‘Tears Came Rollin’ Down’ gets a nine minute workout, and ‘Congo Square’ runs to over 11.
The atmosphere of both the music and the recording is marvellous, not something to just dip in and out of but to play beginning to end, and relish. If you have ever listened to artists like Nicky Moore (which I insist you do as a matter of course), you can hear elements of John Mayall’s brand of blues. ****
Review by Joe Geesin
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