John Mayall YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts Bay Shore, NY September 19, 2014 During John Mayall's long and storied career, the singer, songwriter, harmonica master, keyboardist and guitarist has used Chicago blues as the foundation for his signature sound, which also melds rock with a slight touch of jazz. His backing band is and has always been known as the Bluesbreakers. Membership in the Bluesbreakers has changed regularly since the late '50s when Mayall formed the group. This very special group's roster reads like a who's who of the English rock scene: ...read more
Redoubtable and self-motivated as ever Just shy of his eightieth birthday, John Mayall recorded an album with his current band late in 2013 that suggests in no uncertain terms he remains as potent a blues musician as the members of his group merely half his age. He titled A Special Life with the same knowing understatement he writes, plays and sings (and renders the cover art as well). That's not to say there's much profound in the material itself, but only that the longevity of the man known as the 'Godfather of British Blues' imparts a significance to ...read more
Though John Mayall doesn't deign to call the unit that collaborates with him on Live in London The Bluesbreakers," his current band is arguably as tight and sympathetic as any ensemble that's sported the moniker in the recent past. Fusing bassist Greg Rzab, drummer Jay Davenport and guitarist Rocky into a fluid ensemble, The Godfather of British Blues elicits versatility from this stripped- down instrumental lineup, opening with vocals, harp and some piano on Another Man." It's just the first inkling of how Mayall works with sparse arrangements for the sake of simplicity, not lack of ideas. One ...read more
John Mayall looks alternately dignified and defiant in the photos that adorn Tough. The music, however, is permeated with a consistent resolve. Displaying his usual emotionalism, the Godfather of British Blues offers an album largely comprised of covers recorded with an almost entirely new band.
The wisdom of his concept(s) becomes apparent on the very first track, Nothing to Do with Love." This atmospheric number features not just the familiar wail of Mayall's harmonica, but the lead guitar of Rocky Athas--the latest in a string of guitar prodigies Mayall has discovered over the years. The Texas native makes a case ...read more
John Mayall Die Kantine Koln, GermanyMay 12, 2009 Sometimes a mix of the old and the new is a formula yielding timelessness. The latest soulful and rollicking incarnation of John Mayall and his blues-based sidekicks, assembled just a few months back, reportedly assures a new album due out this fall. If this current lineup--Rocky Athas (guitar), Greg Rzab (bass), Jay Davenport (drums), and Tom Canning (keyboard)--manages to capture even half the energy and expertise it laid out for a swinging swarm of devotees in Koln, the prolific, long-running, 75-year-old Mayall should have some ...read more
John Mayall had a reputation for being a rebel long before 1969. How else to explain his single-minded devotion to the blues in the face of Beatlemania? Still, in dispensing with a drummer and including no lead electric guitarist in the band he formed for The Turning Point (Polydor, 1969), Mayall was going against the very grain of the blues movement he had helped to establish alongside his illustrious sequence of lead guitarists--Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor.
John Mayall Live at The Marquee 1969 Eagle Records 2008
Reaffirmed by dint of the ...read more
Ostensibly a tribute to the late Freddie King, this CD also serves admirably as a showcase of John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers themselves. The band displays both versatility and finesse on a combination of covers by the Texas guitarist as well as two originals. Meanwhile their front man exhibits his usual authority as a band leader, while at the same time demonstrating enough humility to pay righteous homage to a kindred spirit of the blues.
Mayall's pleasure in playing and singing is palpable on You Know That You Love Me, and if that track, or Living on the Highway, is ...read more