Live in 1967 - Volume Two

By Lady K.
June 2016

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Forty Below Records, 2016

Welcome to another peek into John Mayall’s music closet. Volume Two contains 13 more tracks from Mayall’s earlier years of his decades-long career, and it’s just as important as Volume One, released in 2015.

The tracks were recorded by Ton Huissen in 1967 at live performances in various clubs in London (Bromley, The Marquee Club, the Ram Jam Club and Klook’s Kleek). The sound is exactly as you’d expect from recordings made during that period. If you were hitting clubs in those good old days you’ll recognize the sound and the feel of the moment. These tunes will bring you back to those days.

They’ll also make you realize the vast improvements that changed music: room acoustics, amplifiers, and recording devices – just everything. Still, while the sound ain’t great, it’s an historic album. It will evoke memories of younger days for people of a certain age, and give younger blues fans a peek back into the history of blues rock. It’s amazingly nostalgic and definitely harkens back to opening strains of blues rock.

One of the cooler elements of recordings made at live club shows is that, in addition to the vocals, bands tend to ‘take the music and run’ with it, for long instrumental jams (did we call ‘em jams in those days?). So just when you think you know where the tune is going, it can change direction and take you to a whole new, unexpected – but great - place.

AND, in addition to John Mayall’s vocals, harmonica and keyboards, this recording is made with a group of guys that were with Mayall for only about three months and who went on to become another world-renowned band: Peter Green (guitar); John McVie (bass); Mick Fleetwood (drums) - AKA Fleetwood Mac!

The tunes from Volume Two include three of Mayall’s own (“Tears In My Eyes”, “Please Don’t Tell”, and “Chicago Line” – check out McVie’s bass here), and 10 covers from various well-known blues men: “Your Funeral and My Trial” (Sonny Boy Williamson); “Bye Bye Bird” (Willie Dixon and Sonny Boy Williamson); “Sweet Little Angel” (BB King and Jules Taub); “Talk to Your Daughter” (J.B. Lenoir, Alex Atkins); “Bad Boy” (Eddie Taylor); “Greeny” (Peter Green); and “Ridin’ On the L&N” (Lionel Hampton, Dan Burley).

Several of the tracks were also recorded on Mayall’s first Live in 1967 album, but they are different here: “So Many Roads” (Paul Marshall); “Stormy Monday” (T-Bone Walker); and “Double Trouble” (Otis Rush)

“Greeny” is Peter Green’s long, amazing instrumental jam. How very cool that he’s playing his own tune while performing in Mayall’s band, and then to have this 6-minute-plus track show up on a Mayall recording nearly 40 years later. Mayall’s instrumental “Chicago Line” is another thriller.

And, Lady K totally and completely loves “Sweet Little Angel.” Mayall’s vocals and keyboard are a perfect blend with the guitars and drums of his bandmates, AND if you don’t use headphones you can barely hear the voices of the club patrons in the background (they add character).

So, if you’ve been collecting John Mayall’s music for all of these years - here’s another ‘must have’ – it definitely ‘belongs’ with Volume One (and if you haven’t bought that one yet, why not?)

If you are new to blues, congratulations on investigating the genre, and go meet some John Mayall music. You’ll love his blues.

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