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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, September 18, 2015

Forty Below Records artist: John Mayall - Find A Way To Care - New release Review

I just received the newest release, Find A Way To Care, from John Mayall and it has a real nice groove! Opening with Don Robey's Mother In Law Blues, Mayall leads the drive both vocally and with solid piano work. Mayall has been blazing the blues path for 50 years and this release sounds as fresh as his earliest work. A Chicago style harp solo from Mayall with only the most basic of rhythm addition from Rocky Athas on guitar, Greg Rzab on bass and Jay Davenport makes for a great opener. Percy Mayfield's The River's Invitation keeps a funky R&B feel with Mayall on keys and warm horn backing giving the track a certain "authentic" feel. Very nice! Ain't No Guarantees blends blues with jazz and rock with a classic Mayall sound. Mayall takes an extended organ solo on this track with a cool irregular drum rhythm by Davenport. Lightnin' Hopkins' I Feel So Bad, has a slightly different rhythmic twist but Mayall's vocals are compelling and his electric piano work blends micely with horn backing. Rocky Athas leads off title track, Find A Way To Care, with a slick guitar solo. A more melodic, radio style melody with traditional horn arrangements and a dance rhythm makes this track a strong contender for airplay. Muddy Waters' Long Distance Call, is a real cool interpretation of a Morganfield classic. Maintaining Morganfield's original certainty but adding the silkiness of an older man's eyes, Mayall delivers the track with Spann like piano work and vocal tenderness. Athas doesn't really step out on the track but does a really nice job of adding understated but meaningful guitar riffs to the blend. Excellent! Lee Baker's shuffle, I Want All My Money Back, is next up and Mayall's vocals are super. Backing himself on organ and with a stiff drum beat from Davenport, this track moves. Athus steps up on this track flaming off some really hot guitar riffs balanced out by Mayall on keys. Very cool! Ropes and Chains has an easy, melancholy feel with Mayall playing subtle harp riffs. Developing into a cool jazz driven blues with cool bass riffs from Rzab, Mayall and Athus trading riffs on harp and guitar,this may be my favorite track on the release. Charles Brown's classic blues track, Drifting Blues features Mayall on vocal and piano with only light bass and brushes. Mayall really does a nice job of bringing his piano work to the foreground on this track making it another favorite. Matt Schofields's War We Wage is a hot modern style blues/jazz track with scorching guitar work from Athus. Latin rhythms and British changes make this a track with surprises. Super! Wrapping the release is Crazy Lady, a cool piano boogie featuring Mayall playing old style. This is a terrific cut showing a genuine appreciation of the real boogie woogie piano styling and a great way to wrap the release.

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