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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Forty Below Records artist: John Mayall's Bluesbreakers - Live In 1967 - New Release review

I just received the newest release (April 21, 2015) from Forty Below Records, Live in 1967 by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and it's over the top! Secretly recorded on a one channel reel - to - reel recorder the audio is better than marginal but the musical quality more than makes up for it. This recording has never before been available publicly and records what is in my opinion the finest lineup of Mayall's Bluesbreakers ever... Mayall, Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood... yes, that's right... the early beginnings of The Original Fleetwood Mac. Opening with Otis Rush's All Your Love, Green's famous tone is immediately noticeable. This early work by Mayall is credibly noted as the beginning of the acknowledgement by white audiences of blues music in it's newer rock format. This is a great track and finely executed. Brand New Start is a great boogie track with Mayall's vocal/harp leadership. This is a great jam with guitar, harp and keyboard solos. Excellent! Another Rush track, Double Trouble finds Green with his classic riffs. This is so good it hurts. If you love early British blues, this is exceptional. This is where it all comes from! Blues rocker Streamline has a great bass line from McVie and Green steps up with a nicely picked solo. Mayall rolls the organ for a cool solo as well giving the track a balanced feel. On a track made popular by Freddie King, Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Mayall lays out some of his best vocals on the release. As witnessed by many other later runs at this track including Derek and the Dominos (Clapton and Allman), this track is made for stetched out gut gripping guitar solo's and Green doesn't waste a note. This is terrific! Johnny Guitar Watson's Looking Back is a real rocker with Mayall leading the way and Fleetwood pushing hard. Green shows he's not all blues with some great guitar riffs here as well. Another Otis Rush track, So Many Roads, became somewhat of a Mayall classic and this live version only proliferates the legend. Mayall really knows how to squeeze the vocals on this track and Green's blues depth is rattling! Tommy Tucker's Hi Heel Sneakers again is a great track to keep the audience moving and create dynamics from the slower more emotional tracks. Mayall takes a nice organ solo on this track as well. Another Otis Rush track, the ultimate I Can't Quit You Baby (you don't need to look it up, Led Zep recorded it in 68 and released it in 69...this is 1967). Peter Green plays it square and the track retains a lot of Rush's original feel and tension. Listen to those riffs. Excellent! Up next is Freddie King's The Stumble which is always a standard for blues guitar players. Green does a super job of delivering the goods on this extended track and Fleetwood and McVie drive the bottom hard. Very cool! Another King track, Someday After Awhile slows the tempo back down and Mayall belts out the blues. OK, the fidelity isn't great but the expressiveness is unmistakeable. Green steps up again and blows your hair back with grinding guitar riffs that are razor sharp. Excellent! Another Freddie King track, San-Ho-Zay features Green up front and with a run time of over 8 minutes, this track gives Green the chance to explore blues riffs from every angle. Very nice. Wrapping the release is T-Bone Walker's Stormy Monday. One of my all time favorite blues tracks, having been raised on Duane Allman, Green does an excellent job of interpreting this incredible track to it's fullest. (Again before you ask, the Allman's Fillmore was recorded in '71). Mayall has put together an unbelievable set and this band is out of sight. A must have for anyone who loves blues guitar.


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