John Mayall Album by Album thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Sprocket Henry, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. NumberEight

    NumberEight Came too late and stayed too long

    As well as Green and Taylor material, that CD also includes an excellent version of the Blues Alone song Broken Wings with Walter Trout from 1985.
  2. Sprocket Henry

    Sprocket Henry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Ready to keep rolling on folks? Diary of a Band Vol. 1 & 2 is up next..
    Walter Sobchak and OneStepBeyond like this.
  3. Bring it on!

  4. Walter Sobchak

    Walter Sobchak Forum Resident

    I'm interested to hear your thoughts on a record that I think totally encapsulates everything great and annoying about Mayall
    Sprocket Henry likes this.
  5. NumberEight

    NumberEight Came too late and stayed too long

    Before moving on to Diary of a Band, I'd like to put in a vote for Crusade's Driving Sideways and The Death of J B Lenoir.
  6. Walter Sobchak

    Walter Sobchak Forum Resident

    I actually like the whole Crusade album a lot, it's got a lot of spirit, and Mayall's vocals seem less all over the map
    vanhooserd and janschfan like this.
  7. Sprocket Henry

    Sprocket Henry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The Diary of a Band - Volumes 1 & 2 (1968)

    Recorded mid-late 1967, UK and Europe.
    Released January 3, 1968.


    Volume 1:
    A1 Blood On The Night (John Mayall)
    A2 Edmonton - Cooks Ferry Inn (Impromptu)
    A3 I Can't Quit You Baby
    B1 Medley: Anzio Annie; Snowy Wood; The Lesson (John Mayall)
    B2 My Own Fault (John Mayall)
    B3 God Save The Queen

    Volume 2:
    A1 Gimme Some Lovin (M. Winwood, Davis, S. Winwood)
    A2 The Train (Mayall)
    A3 Crying Shame (Mayall)
    B1 Local Boys Makes Good
    B2 Help Me (Dixon)
    B3 Blues In BbWritten (Mayall)
    B4 Soul Of A Short Fat Man

    Bass – Keith Tillman, Paul Williams (10)
    Drums – Keef Hartley
    Guitar – Mick Taylor
    Vocal, guitar and organ - John Mayall
    Saxophone [Tenor & Baritone] – Chris Mercer
    Saxophone [Tenor & Soprano] – Dick Heckstall-Smith

    Zeki and bluemooze like this.
  8. Sprocket Henry

    Sprocket Henry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yup - it had been probably a good fifteen years since I last dug these out. Still, it's a fairly enjoyable mixed bag of performances, banter and odd curios. By this point Mayall had begun his drift into extended jam territory with some heavy jazz vibes which would find their way all over the upcoming Bare Wires. The gigs sound like they're set against the most bawdy, drunken and slightly dodgy crowds packed into small clubs and pubs dotted around the UK and Europe. The second volume is most likely the pick for me as Volume 1 is offset by some really atrocious performances - see the opening "Blood On The Night" with Mayall's awful scatting and yelping, whilst sounding like it had been recorded in a dismal cavernous basement. However, a nice rousing version of "I Can't Quit You Baby" and their mandatory version of "God Save The Queen" is great fun with a ridiculous and partially indecipherable drunken conversation tacked onto the end.

    Anyone else have thought regarding this somewhat dubious entry in JM's catalouge?

    Next up: JM's excellent jazz-psych-blues concept album Bare Wires.
  9. Sprocket Henry

    Sprocket Henry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    And, FYI - an indication of where we're currently sitting in this vast discography:

    1968: The Diary of A Band – Volume One & Two
    1968: Bare Wires
    1968: Blues from Laurel Canyon
    1969: Looking Back
    1969: The Turning Point
    1970: Empty Rooms
    1970: USA Union
  10. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

    Seven albums in three years. A prolific artist in the days when labels would support artists that didn't make the top 40.
  11. Kingsley Fats

    Kingsley Fats Forum Resident

    I've got a 2cd version that includes both volumes. I think I've only played it a couple of times because I was put off by the bootleg quality of the recordings.
    I think at the time I thought I was buying the Looking Back album.

    I saw John Mayall live @1973 - This was the Moving On / Jazz Blues Fusion band with those great jazz/blues players including the wonderfull Freddy Robinson on guitar.
    I wish I was more aware of what a legend I was seeing.
    Zeki likes this.
  12. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Hendrix was sitting in on one of the gigs recorded for Diary. IIRC he played on Blues in Bb, but his contribution was edited out.
    All Down The Line likes this.
  13. Lk4605

    Lk4605 Forum Resident

    France Marseille
    When it these two records were issued in 1968 I was completely surprised by the very BAD quality of these ( officials records !!)
  14. Walter Sobchak

    Walter Sobchak Forum Resident

    Mayall wanted it that way for some unexplainable reason. I agree that the atonal jazz noodling on
    Blood on the Night nearly details the entire project, just an awful track. Despite the bootleg sound quality the slower blues pieces do a great job showing how powerful a live act they could be on a good night.
  15. rgutter

    rgutter Forum Resident

    Either Blues in B (of which a 20 minute version allegedly exists ») or The Lesson, depending on which Mayall interview you choose to believe.
    All Down The Line and DTK like this.
  16. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    That "20 minute version" is definitely Mayall, but it's neither Blues in Bb or The Lesson (I know, I put it into general circulation), but another blues type song. And the guitarist is probably Taylor.
    rgutter likes this.
  17. rgutter

    rgutter Forum Resident

    Thanks for the info. (I've never heard it, just reporting what's online.)
    DTK likes this.
  18. cdb3

    cdb3 Forum Resident

    Milton Keynes, UK
    I bought DoaB vol 1 when it was released, but I sold it later. I often had to do this then in order to finance buying new records. Anyhow, not long ago I bought the cd containing both volumes having never heard the second one. The sq is a problem with this release but I think it was a very innovative idea for the time. It is a shame that we cannot hear some of the performances as well as they deserve but the release does give a fascinating insight into the experience of a working band in the U.K. in this period. I don't think Blood on the Night is as poor as others - it's an improvisation produced after the shock of one of the band being physically assaulted at the gig.
    Zeki likes this.
  19. Walter Sobchak

    Walter Sobchak Forum Resident

    I get to a point what Mayall was aiming for recording this the way he did. I'll even grant you that the (to my ears) noisy and atonal Blood on the Night had some context, but that's a terrible selection for an opening track and it sticks out like a sore thumb with the other tracks on the first volume. That being said Taylor is completely on fire throughout
  20. JulesRules

    JulesRules Operational, partially functional

    Filling up time before the thread moves along with some more quotes from the biography ("The Blues Crusader" by Dinu Logoz, for those who missed my starting post)...

    Crusade → Laurel Canyon (Part 1)
    Mayall […] searched for other guitarists he knew. His first choice was 16 year-old Davey O’List […]. O’List turned Mayall’s offer down and joined Keith Emerson’s new group the [sic] Nice, a decision he was to regret. […] It was with Hatfield-based outfit called the [sic] Gods that [Mick] Taylor began to be recognized. The Gods also featured keyboardist Ken Hensley (later of Uriah Heep), and bass player John Glascock (later of Jethro Tull and Chicken Shack).

    Mayall […] could now afford to expand his line-up. After swearing not to augment the Bluesbreakers with horns (on the “Hard Road” LP sleeve […]), he’d obviously changed his mind.

    Again, we’re looking at a couple of classic songs or songs that would go on to become classics. Albert King’s “Oh Pretty Woman” and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Checkin’ Up On My Baby” would be recorded again years later by Gary Moore (though in this case, I was familiar with both songs before I heard GM do them). “My Time After Awhile” is one of Buddy Guy’s best moments and we all know how often “I Can’t Quit You Baby” has been done - from Led Zeppelin to The Rolling Stones just last year! “Me and My Woman” would also be revisited by Mayall as a guest appearance on a Robben Ford album called “Keep On Running”, something we’ll have to return to later in this thread for various reasons!

    “The Death of J.B. Lenoir”, the album’s standout track, is Mayall’s haunting and emotive tribute to the Mississippi-born, Chicago-based musician and songwriter. His death on April 29 from a heart attack affected Mayall deeply, as he was in the process of persuading Lenoir to collaborate on a future recording project.

    As for the title, Mayall was on a self-appointed crusade to awaken interest in the blues, and get blues artists onto the radio and TV more. […] Mayall’s campaign must have been successful, as some 60,000 fans signed his petition for more blues to be played on the BBC.

    On August 13, the Bluesbreakers played at the 7th National Jazz and Blues festival in Windsor. They were on the same bill as Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac (their first gig, with Bob Brunning [!] on bass), The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation (also their first gig), Cream, Chicken Shack, Jeff Beck and others. The festival marked the start of the British blues boom, with attendance totalling 50,000. The blues was fast becoming the most important music for the youth in Britain. The Bluesbreakers were one of the best-received acts, and Mayall’s band was the only one [!] called back for an encore.

    When Mayall heard that Dick Heckstall-Smith was out of the Graham Bond Organisation, he wasted no time. […] Recruiting Heckstall-Smith was too much for McVie, who still considered himself to be an out-and-out blues musician, and whose aversion to sobriety was matched only by his dislike of brass sections in blues bands.


    “I was very conscious I was following in the footsteps of Clapton and Green. They were the two English guys who, for me, exemplified that white English guitarists really could play the blues. I knew that I was potentially a good blues guitar player, but my sound and my style were very influenced by B.B. King and Clapton” – Mick Taylor

    “In those first days, Mick hardly spoke, and this seemed very strange after the outgoing and opinionated Greeny.” – Keef Hartley

    “Having performed most of the songs on the road, they had already got a handle on them. Most good music comes in the first take, and certainly the third take at the most. After that, things tend to go downhill, because you lose that creative spark. The band weren’t sure they were ready but I kept pushing them.” – Mayall about “Crusade”

    “It's about time that the blues fraternity made an outcry against a system locked in the belief that blues fans are only a small minority in the world of popular music” – Mayall in the liner notes of “Crusade”

    “John Mayall was another hangout, not very often, but a few times after a club he’d still be around, and we’d go back to his house. He was a blues DJ too, fantastic collection. He first played my B.B. King; Buddy Guy he’d play a lot. Then he’d play me some early Eric Clapton stuff, which was: ‘God, it’s amazing!’ You could really see where Eric was getting some of his stuff from, but Eric was making his guitar sound like a violin. It was a great education.” – Paul McCartney on hanging out with Mayall

    “To me, back then, brass equalled jazz. Peter Green was very persistent. I kept saying, ‘I’ve got a nice steady gig here, everything’s fine.’ I was making forty pounds a week and doing well. But I left John because I thought things were getting too jazzy. I was a blues fanatic – if it wasn’t straight Chicago Blues, then forget it. We were doing a gig in Norwich, and we did a sound check, working some arrangements out, and one of the horn players asked: ‘What sort of solo do you want here?’ John said: ‘Oh, just play free-form.’ I thought, ‘OK, that's it!’ We played one set and I marched to the phone box across the street with all the indignation a blues purist could muster. I called up Pete and said, ‘Do you still want me in the band?’ – John McVie about things getting too jazzy and quitting Mayall

    “I am always being plagued with questions like ‘Why did so-and-so leave?’ or ‘What happened to so-and-so?’ Bluesbreakers tend to fall into two categories, those who are asked to leave because their playing styles alter to the extent that they are no longer able to work in the same musical direction of the rest of the band – for example Roger Dean, Hughie Flint, Aynsley Dunbar, Mick Fleetwood, Rip Kant – and those musicians, usually guitarists, who have developed their own confidence and playing ability to the point where they want to set out on their own in a different branch of blues like Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Peter Green.” – John Mayall on the fluctuation in his band

    “There seems to be a nasty stigma attached to the phrase ‘being fired’ in this country. It implies a loss of grace or something, that the person being fired is inadequate or even incompetent. But in music, it’s different; there's usually a reason for it and I don't think it's because the guys couldn’t handle their instruments, which is the only area they should feel disgrace about, really. it's always been a question of my having played with a particular set of musicians for so long that I need a change I usually know what I want to do next, I find that by continually changing my bands I don't get stagnant as a performer, nor does my music as a composer. When I feel that the music with the musicians concerned has gone as far as it can possibly go, I start to think about organizing a new set of musicians and some new music.” – Mayall on constant change and why he liked it
  21. Fleet Fox

    Fleet Fox Forum Resident

    Waterford, Ireland
    Loving this thread. Great artist :)
  22. Sprocket Henry

    Sprocket Henry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bare Wires coming up next. I'll line it up for tomorrow.
    JulesRules likes this.
  23. JulesRules

    JulesRules Operational, partially functional

    Bumping this thread just cos'. But also since I've seen several of John Mayall's albums in the "3 CDs for 15€" thingy on Amazon and I'm wondering which ones I should add to my collection first...
    kollektionist likes this.
  24. kollektionist

    kollektionist Forum Resident

    And another bump ! Great artist, great thread, and on a Bare Wires kick right now. So...what's the hold up ? ;)
    JulesRules and Matthew Tate like this.
  25. Granadaland

    Granadaland Forum Resident

    Blues from Laurel Canyon Deram CD is sonic bliss.
    Along with the WG Beano London CD.

Share This Page