John Mayall has issued yet another new album? It amazes me that he has so much music in him that he continues to put out one quality album after another. Out of all he's done, there are very few Mayall albums I consider unworthy of his talent.
Road Dogs continues the long string of worthwhile albums that began when Mayall brought Coco Montoya and Buddy Whittington into the band nearly two decades ago after he suffered a patch of mid-career burnout by issuing a couple of uninspired records. Chicago Line revitalized his muse and he's been going strong ever since. Montoya has since gone out on his own, but Whittington more than makes up for his absence.
Mayall has a tendency to revisit favorite themes such as how the blues have affected his life, personal issues, and social ills yet he continues to exhibit a bouyant optimism in most of his lyrics.
On Road Dogs, he manages to cover all his favorite bases once again. My favorites here are the title cut, So Glad, Snake Eye, Beyond Control, Chaos In The Neighborhood, You'll Survive, With You, the instrumental Brumwell's Beat, and Scrambling. Mayall's voice, an acquired taste for some, is the same as ever, and the band's line-up gives musical force to Mayall's continued strong songwriting skills.
Throughout his career, Mayall's bands have showcased and nurtured up and coming young musicians, a huge number of whom have gone onto substantial popularity after graduating from Mayall's "school". The latest talent featured by Mayall is the very young Eric Steckel who plays a mean and fiery lead on the hard-hitting Chaos In the Neighborhood. He sounds great and I hope Mayall uses him again.
Long-time Mayall fans will be pleased to find the grand old man of British blues still crankin'. Though Road Dogs is not his best album, it is of a quality that will give it heavy rotation in my CD player both at home and on the road. Add it to your CD collection today.