Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Blues Breakers – John Mayall with Eric Clapton

I had heard some of John Mayall’s work before and even a couple of tunes with Clapton playing, but this album is a true revelation!

Clapton joined the Blues Breakers after quitting the Yardbirds due to their pop tendencies and specifically their hit single, “For Your Love”. With Mayall, he found another lover of pure blues music and so they joined forces, Eric bought a Les Paul (to emulate Freddie King) and a Marshall amp and changed the sound of the blues (and r’n’r) forever! Aided by a sympathetic producer, Mike Vernon, the band was able to capture Eric’s revolutionary sound – produced by playing at a high volume, which was seriously frowned upon at most studios at the time.

John turned Clapton on to many blues guitar heroes and he learned fast and furiously! This record shows Eric at his best – perfect tone and classic playing – never overboard, never excessive, just incredible licks in just the right place! The rest of the band is totally solid, as well, including great harp playing by Mayall.

As much as I dig Cream, the band certainly could go way overboard squeezing as many notes as possible in every measure of a song. Here, the entire group works together and produces a superb blues rock album!