John Mayall review…May 3, 2016…

JOHN MAYALL’S BLUESBREAKERS

LIVE IN 1967–VOLUME 2

FORTY BELOW RECORDS  FBR 013

TEARS IN MY EYES–YOUR FUNERAL AND MY TRIAL–SO MANY ROADS–BYE BYE BIRD–PLEASE DON’T TELL–SWEET LITTLE ANGEL–TALK TO YOUR DAUGHTER–BAD BOY–STORMY MONDAY–GREENY–RIDIN’ ON THE L & N–CHICAGO LINE–DOUBLE TROUBLE

‘Bout a year ago, John Mayall put out a set of yet-unheard performances from a Bluesbreakers lineup that featured Peter Green on guitar, John McVie on bass, and Mick Fleetwood on drums a few months before they’d write a chapter in blues and rock history by forming Fleetwood Mac.  But, in 1967, a resourceful fan, Tom Huissen, smuggled a one-reel tape recorder (we would love to know how he managed!) into various London clubs such as Kleek’s Klook, Bromley, and others, and recorded these blues titans right from the bandstand.  Almost fifty years further on up the road, he shared these tapes with John Mayall, and, thru the tireless efforts of John and Forty Below Records’ Eric Corne,  “Live In 1967–Volume One”  was released.

Now, from those same raw recordings, comes the second and final volume of vintage Bluesbreakers.  “Live In 1967–Volume 2” features thirteen more tracks of some of the world’s finest bluesmen in intimate club settings, just lettin’ loose and lettin’ the blues flow freely.  On this set, we thought many of the cuts, even tho the tapes were fifty years old, were surprisingly pristine and vibrant.  These versions also give Peter Green a chance to stretch out and jam, showing a glimpse of the powerhouse he was about to become.

Leading off is a Mayall original, a slow-blues done in the vein of Ray Charles, “Tears In My Eyes,” followed by a couple of tributes to Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller).  We learned from John at his March  City Winery show that he was a huge fan of Sonny Boy, and struts his harp chops on “Your Funeral And My Trial, ” and the instrumental, “Bye Bye Bird.”

Another artist John enjoyed was J. B. Lenoir, represented here by a boisterous version of “Mama, Talk To Your Daughter,” featuring some gritty, Chicago-blues-styled licks from Peter.

We had three favorites, too.  A song John played at the City Winery, “Chicago Line,” is presented herein as an instrumental, with a blistering bass solo from McVie.  “Ridin’ On The L & N” is a flat-out houserocker, and this version of “Stormy Monday” has vocals from a frequent guest of John on the stage, Ronnie Jones.

Blues fans can rejoice once more.  John stated to us in March that the cuts presented on these two sets pretty much summed up the Bluesbreakers repertoire from the mid-Sixties, and “Live In 1967–Volume 2” brings it all full-circle!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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