Three for the Road, the new album from iconic musician and Blues Hall of Fame member John Mayall, features cuts drawn from two exuberant concerts recorded live in Germany in 2017. The title is a nod to the trio format featured on Mayall's 2017 world tour, which includes long time bassist Greg Rzab and drummer Jay Davenport. The new record, produced by Eric Corne and John Mayall and mixed by Corne includes a mix of songs from both recent and classic John Mayall/Bluesbreakers releases, and represents the sixth offering from the fruitful partnership between Mayall and Forty Below Records.
John Mayall with the Bluesbreakers celebrates his 70th birthday with a concert featuring former guitarists Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor.
Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton was Eric Clapton's first fully realized album as a blues guitarist - more than that, it was a seminal blues album of the 1960s, perhaps the best British blues album ever cut, and the best LP ever recorded by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Standing midway between Clapton's stint with the Yardbirds and the formation of Cream, this album featured the new guitar hero on a series of stripped-down blues standards, Mayall pieces, and one Mayall/Clapton composition, all of which had him stretching out in the idiom for the first time in the studio…
John Mayall has been doing this blues thing now for over five decades (he released his first single in 1964), exploring the form in all of its incarnations, from gutbucket country blues to the more urbane jazz side of things, and amazingly, he's always sounded pretty much like John Mayall, a blues everyman who has always surrounded himself with the best bands and players, a big part of the reason he is still a successful touring act in his eighties. Mayall's put out 60 some albums since 1964, and while he's slowed down a bit in recent years, he's still good for a new album or live set every couple of years or so. A Special Life, recorded in November 2013 at Entourage Studios in North Hollywood, features Mayall's current band…
Fuelled by Coco Montoya's searing but economical string-slashing, drummer Joe Yuele, and bassist Rick Cortes, John Mayall has managed to keep a stable core of Bluesbreakers together in recent years. Mayall rarely does the same album twice, and Wake Up Call finds him returning to a basic, physical sound after 1990's more progressive/highly produced A Sense of Place. The harp whiz has rarely flirted with the pop charts over the decades, a track record that will likely handicap the title track - a potential hit featuring guest vocalist Mavis Staples and some take-charge riffing from former mate Mick Taylor. For pure guitar joy though, Montoya turns the trick all on his own with barnburners "Loaded Dice" and "Nature's Disappearing".
Somehow the grandfather of British blues still had the fire in his belly to record a strong album almost 40 years after he began his storied career. Buddy Whittington acquits himself well as the latest in a long line of hotshot guitarists for this multi-instrumentalist, who still does his best work on harmonica. He still admires long-dead bluesman J.B. Lenoir, including "Voodoo Music" here. A lot of credit for this strong outing goes to R.S. Field, lyricist and sometime producer for Webb Wilder. "Long Story Short" would pass for a Wilder tune were it not for Mayall's distinctive voice.
This was the last of the six albums John Mayall originally made for Blue Thumb/ABC Records between 1975 and 1978, about which he has said, "ABC released six of my albums as a tax write-off. A week after they were released you couldn't find them in any store." It's a live album on which Mayall fronts a quartet consisting of guitarist James Quill Smith (who sings lead on several songs), bassist Steve Thompson, and drummer Soko Richardson. The approach is rock-oriented, and the set list includes such Bluesbreakers favorites as Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm," and Freddie King's "Hideaway" (taken at a frantic tempo), along with the usual complement of generic Mayall originals, among them, a remake of "The Bear," from Blues From Laurel Canyon.