John Mayall review…January 26, 2017….

JOHN MAYALL

TALK ABOUT THAT

FORTY BELOW RECORDS  FBR 015

TALK ABOUT THAT–IT’S HARD GOING UP–THE DEVIL MUST BE LAUGHING–GIMME SOME OF THAT GUMBO–GOIN AWAY BABY–CARDS ON THE TABLE–I DIDN’T MEAN TO HURT YOU–DON’T DENY ME–BLUE MIDNIGHT–ACROSS THE COUNTY LINE–YOU NEVER KNOW

British blues legend John Mayall is back  with another stellar set of contemporary blues brought to us from a man who’s seen it all in a career that goes back, for us, anyways, to his Bluesbreakers days of the Sixties, when he employed guitarists the likes of Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor.  On “Talk About That,”  on Forty Below Records, John is on vocals, keys, harp,  and guitar, with  the core band from his last spate of Forty Below releases backing him,  including Rocky Athas on guitar, Greg Rzab on bass, and Jay Davenport on drums.  Another cool thing about this set is that it also features Joe Walsh on guitar on two cuts,  completing an item on his “bucket list” to play with Mayall.

John Mayall is always one to speak his mind musically, and this album is no different.  Leading off is the title cut,  John’s spit-in-the-face to getting old, and, basically, anything that might bring you down–“throw me a curve, and I’ll get my damn bat—Talk About That!”  Greg lays down a funky bass line here, allowing John’s keyboard to take front and center.

John tackles some fine vintage soul, adding a three-piece horn section to the swingin’, acoustic-piano-driven request of a lover to “Don’t Deny Me of my love for you.”  They dig a little deeper on a tale that serves as sage advice for us all–“It’s Hard Going Up, but twice as hard comin’ down.”

We had two favorites, too.  Everyone has a lot of fun with the Mardi Gras-flavored second-line strut of “Gimme Some Of That Gumbo.”  And, John treats us to another of those songs he’s long been noted for, dealing with topical issues and social injustices.  Joe Walsh’s guitar adds the fervor to the minor-key ode to “so many dying, those fanatics are killing innocents all around,” aptly-titled “The Devil Must Be Laughing.”

John Mayall continues to turn out some of the finest music of his illustrious career.  Add in the contributions of Joe Walsh, and “Talk About That” is one sweet blues ride, indeed!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

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