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An immersion into blues history with John Mayall, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie

April 1, 2015

John-Mayall-Bluesbreakers-1967-Live-CDA blues fan’s 1967 reel-to-reel tape recording of four then-relatively unknown British musicians has captured live what today would be dubbed a supergroup.

John Mayall, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie were together for just three months that year as part of Mayall’s Bluesbreakers band.

The music was recorded in five clubs in and around London, including The Marquee and The Ram Jam. It is, for blues aficionados, an immersion into musical history. And it sounds like a 1960s live electric blues performance should: rough, echoey, raw.

The four musicians all went on to various degrees of fame. Mayall is still an active blues man at 81, the “godfather” of the British electric blues that swept the country in the 1960s and helped promote it beyond its black roots base back in the United States.

At various times and in various incarnations, his band has featured Cream’s Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, The Rolling Stones’ Mick Taylor, Canned Heat’s Harvey Mandel, and ubiquitous drummer Aynsley Dunbar.

Green, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is considered one of the world’s great electric guitarists. He dropped out of sight for a number of years with mental illness before re-emerging with various bands. His song “Black Magic Woman” was a global hit for Latin rockers Santana.Image_titel_e39bf9420babd357ff92f54de07b3866

Bassist McVie and drummer Fleetwood formed Fleetwood Mac, at first a blues band with Green, then later with a new line-up one of the most successful pop-rock groups of all time.

The new release – “John Mayall’s Blues Breakers – Live In 1967” – was restored by Forty Below Records. It is suitably basic and the company admits it is “certainly not hi-fidelity”.

Among the more interesting tracks are “I Can’t Quit You Baby”, a Willie Dixon song that later graced Led Zeppelin’s debut album. There is also a rollicking version of “Hi Heel Sneakers” and a leisurely “Stormy Monday” along with 10 other tracks.

The album is to be released on April 20 in Britain and April 21 in the United States. It ain’t pretty – but it’s the blues.

(This is a version of a story I wrote for my main employer, Reuters)


From → Music, Music Review

  1. My God…I was there! Well actually at the “Blues Club” at Tolworth Towers off the old A3 in Surrey in 1967-8 , when Fleetwood Mac were starting out. We travelled down from Guildford in mum’s old mini….bloody hell…surprised we made it. Great fun!

  2. darren193 permalink

    Reblogged this on British Blues Exhibition and commented:
    Good news that this was found and is being published

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