Review: "Live in 1967: Volume 2" - John Mayall's Bluesbreakers

by Andy Snipper,

By 1967 John Mayall was already one of the great names in British Blues and his Bluesbreakers had been around for 4 or 5 years. Shockingly his guitarist – a certain Eric Clapton – left to form Cream and when he was asked what he would do next Mayall replied “Replace him with someone better”. That ushered in the talent of Peter Green and matched him with the rhythm section of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood – the three of them were the core of Fleetwood Mac (the original band before they moved to the West Coast).

So what?

So there are very few live recordings of the Bluesbreakers from this period but this album (together with Volume 1) has been put together from some illegal recordings that were made at the time, thrown in a drawer and forgotten about by a lad from Holland. When they were offered to Mayall he cleaned them up and issued them and they represent a remarkable slice of British Blues history from a period when – with apologies to Sir Lenny – Blues ruled the roost.

The thing that struck me immediately was the purity of Green’s guitar playing. This was before he played with Fleetwood Mac but you can already hear that signature sound developing and set alongside Mayall’s keyboards, vocals and harp this version of the Bluesbreakers was not only more musical than with Clapton but Green was happy to share the limelight with Mayall.

The album contains versions of Your Funeral & My Trial, a fabulous Stormy Monday that is deep and dense with Green’s guitar just in a world of its own before the vocals come in. The opener is Tears In My Eyes and if you want a definition of Peter Green’s style it is all in that track – just sublime.

Greeny is a fairly standard boogie lit up with Green’s guitar and fabulous bass lines from McVie while one of Mayall’s signature numbers, Riding On The L&N, gets a powerful workout.

The downside of the album is the recording quality – recorded on a portable tape deck hidden under the coat of fan Tom Huissen in The Marquee, Klooks Kleek, The Ram Jam and other London haunts – but it is still easy to hear the quality of the music and the sheer power that was produced by the nascent Fleetwood Mac.

Essential for any fan of the Blues – including Sir Lenny Henry.

1 comment

Zoey said...

I just found out about this and regret not knowing sooner! Sounds amazing keep up the good work!

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