John Mayall - Find A Way To Care

By Lady K.
December 2015

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John Mayall

Find A Way To Care

Forty Below Records, 2015

By Lady K

Lady K is cool with the luck of the draw. As long as the Boston Blues Society continues to receive John Mayall CDs for review, and as long as some of those CDs end up in packets being sent to Maine, Lady K will gladly listen and share her feelings about the blues that Mayall is making.

On this CD, the band includes Mayall (vocals, keyboards, guitar, harmonica); Ricky Athas (lead and rhythm guitar); Greg Rzab (bass); Jay Davenport (drums), and a horn section on several tracks.

The promo sheet included with the CD contained some of Mayall’s own words, describing his feelings about the recording, and they are better words than Lady K can write.

Find a Way to Care includes six covers. Mayall explains why he covers other bluesmen: “Every time I make an album, I always feel I owe it to my fans to come up with fresh and varied interpretations of the blues. With this in mind, I chose an assemblage of songs that includes perhaps some slightly lesser-known bluesmen, and that all had either different beats or special instrumental treatments. I also found three songs that would be further enhanced by the addition of horns.”

The covers include “Mother in Law Blues” (Don Robey); an incredible version of Percy Mayfield’s “The River’s Invitation”; Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “I Feel So Bad”; “Long Distance Call” (Muddy Waters); “I Want All My Money Back” by Lee Baker; and “Drifting Blues” (Charles Brown).

Of course Find a Way to Care has original music too, and showcases a whole lot more of Mayall’s keyboard talents than we are used to. When John Mayall spoke of writing his own blues tunes he said: “As always, I draw from my own experiences and thoughts about things in my life so that from album to album I create an ongoing musical diary of my life.” “The blues never lets me down!”

And we all know that Mayall never lets his fans down.

“Ain’t No Guarantees” is up-tempo with a racing keyboard – ‘She went out through the backdoor, there ain’t no guarantees with love.’ The title track, is mid-tempo with some thrilling guitar, and is an anthem to life changes, aging (‘is a price to pay’), and relationship memories. ‘Everybody needs it; we gotta find a way to care.’ ‘I appreciate the things I can do; ain’t got time for feeling blue; gonna do the best I can.’

“Ropes and Chains” is a way-sexy mid-tempo blues tune, and one of Lady K’s favorite tracks. ‘Hey baby, I like what I see; ropes and chains won’t keep you from me. I got my eyes on you and that’s a fact; ropes and chains will never hold me back.’

“Long Summer Days” is mid-tempo with some of the killer piano interludes that Mayall emphasized in this album. ‘Some say the world is much better, but I still miss those long summer days’; ‘rollin’ in new mown hay, riding on the bike to the schoolhouse – no people and no cars around.’

“War We Wage” is a sexy-swingy track with fantastic slide guitar and provides a commentary on today’s world. ‘You take your side and I’ll take mine – we won’t be seeing eye-to-eye – can’t change the feeling so deep within, so we’re waging a war nobody can win.’ ‘The distance between us has grown much too big.’

The final track, up-tempo, rockin’, and with a luscious keyboard intro and lots of cool ragtime piano, is “Crazy Lady”. ‘Once I had a woman, in 1972, couldn’t believe the trouble that woman put me through; she was one crazy lady – talking ‘bout that old girlfriend.’ ‘She was one crazy lady, I wonder where she is today?’

Mayall still makes blues, and he still makes us love him and his music (that’s evident at his shows) – he’s sexy, he’s talented and he’s got presence. One more John Mayall album to add to your collection!

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