Friday, October 16, 2015

John Mayall's Bluesbreakers Live in 1967

"Live in 1967" by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (Forty Below Records), brings together some club recordings made by Tom Huisson, a Dutch fan of Mayall that captured the edition of the Bluesbreakers that were together for three months. Peter Green was on guitar, John McVie on bass and Mick Fleetwood were on drums and these three would leave Mayall to form Fleetwood Mac. Eric Corne engineered and remastered these recordings that Huisson recorded on a single track tape recorder to result in a listenable if not hi-fidelity release. Mick Fleetwood suffers the most in the audio as it almost sounds like he is playing wood blocks.

Material included on this includes four songs each that are associated with Otis Rush and Freddie King, a couple of Mayall originals and songs from Johnny Guitar Watson, Tommy Tucker and T-Bone Walker. Mayall handles all the vocals and plays organ and harmonica. If Mayall is not one of this writer's favorite blues singers, he is quite credible here and his organ and occasional harp blowing is OK. Much interest will be on Peter Green's string-bending and he is featured throughout with some explosive playing on "Double Trouble," "San-Ho-Zay" (which comes across more as King's "Driving Sideways") and the closing "Stormy Monday." Sound issues aside, he certainly sounds hot.

For fans of Mayall, this will obviously be indispensable and for fans of Green and early Fleetwood Mac, this will likewise be a must purchase. If sound was better (and bear in mind only so much could be done with the source tapes), then this would be recommendable to more casual listeners.

I received my review copy from a publicist. This review previously appeared in the May-June 2015 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 360). Here is Mayall with this group "Double Trouble" from the group's single.

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