John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers review…April 16, 2015…

JOHN MAYALL’S BLUESBREAKERS

LIVE IN 1967

NEVER-BEFORE-HEARD LIVE PERFORMANCES

FORTY BELOW RECORDS   FBR 008

ALL YOUR LOVE–BRAND NEW START–DOUBLE TROUBLE–STREAMLINE–HAVE YOU EVER LOVED A WOMAN–LOOKING BACK–SO MANY ROADS–HI HEEL SNEAKERS–I CAN’T QUIT YOU BABY–THE STUMBLE–SOMEDAY AFTER AWHILE–SAN-HO-ZAY–STORMY MONDAY

John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers have always been synonymous with the best in British blues.  John’s powerful vocals were augmented by some of the world’s best players, with lineups that included at one time or another Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor on guitar, and Aynsley Dunbar (later of Journey fame) on drums.

For a scant three months in 1967, the Bluesbreakers consisted of Mayall on vocals, keys, and harp, with Peter Green on guitar, Jon McVie on bass, and Mick Fleetwood on drums.  Of course, the latter three would go on to greater fame as Fleetwood Mac, but their time spent with Mayall has a historic backstory involving this recording.

A zealous fan from Holland, Tom Huissen, snuck a one-reel recorder into five London clubs in early 1967 to capture this quartet on tape.  The tapes lay dormant for nearly 50 years until Tom’s decision to release this slice of blues history.  With much painstaking effort, Eric Corne of Forty Below Records restored the crude tapes into what is now “Live In 1967–Never-Before-Heard Live Performances.”  Yes, the sound is raw, but even the most jaded fans cannot deny the power of the blues presented herein.

Clapton’s tenure with the band brought also his passion for Otis Rush and Freddie King, and several of these legends’ songs became a part of the Bluesbreakers repertoire.  From the Otis Rush catalog are the leadoff “All Your Love,” “Double Trouble,” “So Many Roads,” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” all of which feature some of Peter green’s most spirited playing ever.  He shows off his incredible tone on two of Freddie’s instrumentals, “The Stumble” and “San-Ho-Zay.”

We had two favorites, too.  “Streamline” is a Mayall original with a cool stop-time groove.  Another song associated with King (and, later, Clapton and Duane Allman) is a great “love song” of sorts, “Have You Ever Loved A Woman.”  The slow-burn guitar of Peter set over John’s impassioned vocals make this one a real show-stopper.

All blues fans owe a debt of gratitude to Tom Huissen and his little one-reel recorder that set the stage for this set.  “Live In 1967–Never-Before-Heard Live Performances” is a brilliant piece of blues history from one of the premier bands of the day, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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