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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British blues blockbuster, 2 Mar 2007
By 
DS "DS" (Wilmington, Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965-1970: (Foreword by John Mayall) (Paperback)
The highest praise I can give this extraordinary book is that it's like a Pete Frame rock family tree come to life. A huge tome (350+ pages, nearly A4 in size), it is endlessly fascinating. It traces the interlocking careers of John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor in the form of a week-by-week, often day-by-day, chronicle of the years 1965-1970, taking in gigs, recording sessions, record releases, radio and television appearances and much more. The author has assembled a wealth of material including contemporary interviews and reviews and (particularly interesting) eye-witness accounts of gigs. What prevents all this information becoming a drudge to read is the author's style: lively and lucid throughout, it welds the huge amount of material into a compelling and readable narrative. The book is also enlivened by many humorous anecdotes (including Mayall, following a spat with Hughie Flint, leaving the drummer by the side of the road after a gig to find his own way home - plus drumkit), and lots of photographs many of which I hadn't seen before: a strangely poignant one of Clapton crouching, dwarfed by a bank of Marshall speakers, and one of a nearly unrecognisable pre-Bluesbreakers Peter Green playing bass (presumably with the Muskrats).

The book concludes with sections summarising the post-1970 careers of the key figures, an incredibly comprehensive concert location index and an equally detailed list of recording sessions, plus an informative account of the equipment used by Mayall, Clapton, Green and Taylor.

I was pleased to see that the book gives proper respect to John Mayall. Notwithstanding his I-live-in-a-tree-and-make-my-own-clothes-and-guitars eccentricity, he emerges as a generous bandleader and serious musician capable of rousing audiences by his own playing and singing, whoever happened to be playing with him at the time. There's an unescapable sense of melancholy as the book draws towards the end of 1970: Peter Green is entering his sad period of mental illness, Mick Taylor is becoming dissatisfied with the shortage of live Stones gigs and lack of writing credits, and Clapton is getting heavily into drugs. For all this, it's a book that will appeal to anyone interested in the so-called British blues boom. To those I rubbed shoulders with at the Black Prince, the Marquee, the Bromley Court Hotel and elsewhere, and those who turned up at countless pubs and small halls up and down the country to enjoy this music, I say this: if this book doesn't make you hunt out and listen again to your copies of the Beano album, A Hard Road and Fresh Cream, I'll eat my Les Paul (copy).
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British Blues Guitar Heaven!, 11 April 2007
By 
J. HOLMES (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965-1970: (Foreword by John Mayall) (Paperback)
This is a goldmine of information about the work of Messrs. Clapton, Green and Taylor. I thought I was pretty genned up on them, but it is packed with facts and figures new to me. The book also features some pictures I have never seen before, and lots of reprints of adverts for gigs all over the country (interesting to see the various spellings of "Mayall", and one for The Bluesbreakers featuring ex-Yardbirds "singer" Eric Clapton!) and other memorabilia.
The book is written in a diary format, but if that sounds boring - believe me, it isn't! It is so interesting I simply could not put it down. My wife didn't see me for nearly a week!
This must have been a huge labour of love, and anyone interested in British blues, and in particular these 3 guitar heroes, should buy it without hesitation.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phew!, 19 April 2007
By 
G. Eggens - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965-1970: (Foreword by John Mayall) (Paperback)
This book is an amazing piece of work. I've been reading it for several weeks now and I am amazed by the information Mr. Hjort has compiled and stored in this book. It made me want to got out and check out CD's of the various acts that are described in the book. Hats off!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling!, 3 April 2009
By 
Alan Burridge (Poole,, Dorset. United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965-1970: (Foreword by John Mayall) (Paperback)
Wow! As soon as you have spent 5 minutes looking through this amazing book, you realise why it took 10 years to research it.
As a fellow reviewer says, it's like one of Pete Frame's Rock Family Trees which has come to life. The detail is amazing right across the board, be it Mayall, Taylor, Green or Clapton; and you just become completely absorbed by the whole thing, and it's very difficult to put down; an absolutely glorious time-waster, but at the same time we are enthralled with all we are learning at the same time.
As Chris Hjort notes, you either read this book from cover to cover, or keep dipping in as and when, but whichever option you choose, the time just slips away with the gig reviews, details of recording sessions, and all the other aspects connected with working blues and rock bands which we love reading about. Agreed, if you're under 40 this is probably a laborious tome to get through unless you're a rock history fan, but for those of us who lived through this era, (aged 55 and above), it is nothing but absolutely fascinating.
Out of it all, though, yet again our mystery Cream gig, which took place at Bournemouth Pavilion on either August 1st or 8th 1966 has not been annotated. Local fans either remember it as hearsay, and some even attended the gig and have great anecdotes to retell, but nailing down the date by way of a ticket stub or newspaper cutting currently eludes us, but we are studiously working in conjunction with the local Daily Echo at finding a positive outcome for this Cream gig which the biographers have missed!
This book of Chris's, however, shows Cream recording in London on August 1st, so the Pavilion gig must have been on the 8th; but we still need that hard copy proof to sign, seal and deliver it to Messrs Hojort and Welch!
As a life-long Cream buff, there are a great many photos in this volume which I had not seen before, not only of Cream, but all the featured bands. An astounding feat has been accomplished here, well done Chris Hjort, the long hours and that decade you spent in research were worth it; thank you for your tenacity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strange brew indeed - but sheer nectar, 14 Feb 2010
By 
Keith Randall (Isle of Man, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965-1970: (Foreword by John Mayall) (Paperback)
Frank Zappa, whose name appears seventeen times in this book, was once quoted as saying: "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture", a contrived statement which suggests that to discuss music is pointless. With due respect to him, that is nonsense. The best writers - Gary Giddins, Peter Guralnick, Greil Marcus, the late Benny Green, Philip Norman et al, and now the authors of this book - create an enthusiastic energy which sends the reader dashing to their music collections in order to rediscover the treasures they hold, with new insights and a fresh perspective.

I agree with my fellow reviewers: this wonderful, fascinating book is hard to put down. I've read it several times this year and it is a great pleasure, if a pleasure somewhat tinged with the frustration of what I missed.

As I have stated elsewhere several times, I was present at many of the gigs which are listed/described/reviewed here but, as I didn't live in or close to London, there were many I missed out on which were evidently superb, such as Eric Clapton's many gigs with John Mayall (I saw only one of those gigs, being too young at the time) and Peter Green sitting in with Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation, alongside his friend John Morshead. I would also have liked to witness Jimi Hendrix playing Mick Taylor's guitar (therefore with the strings the 'wrong' way up for Jimi) very fluidly and fluently. Astonishing! As a London music shop assistant once said (about Peter Green): "I'd give my right arm to play like that!"

The text is superbly written and presented, with very few typographical errors and as far as I know, no factual errors, save for the omission of the sole Mayall/Clapton gig which I attended. The book's 350 pages are jam-packed with information about - and the evocation of - a great musical and social era.

I recommend it without reservation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for the enthusiasts..., 14 Nov 2008
By 
Clive Newell (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965-1970: (Foreword by John Mayall) (Paperback)
Well, it is not just for enthusiasts alone... ;-) Even so, (IMO) this is a superb book and without doubt, a carefully researched 'labour of love' by the author. As detail is precise and in 'calendar' style, it is not a quick read and I enjoyed every moment of reading it. Some great, (B&W) pics also, which I had not seen before. Other reviewers have said it all... A great read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a curse...its SO good!, 25 Aug 2009
This review is from: Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965-1970: (Foreword by John Mayall) (Paperback)
In a nutshell, the BEST book on the 60s British Blues scene I have ever read. A concise and fascinating account of the period documented literally on a day to day basis. Be aware, once opened you wont be able to rest until its finished (almost 5 weeks in my case), so buy it, find a quiet corner and get cracking!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange Brew!, 11 Jun 2009
By 
C. Campbell (Hornchurch, Esses, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965-1970: (Foreword by John Mayall) (Paperback)
I have read several accounts in books, magazines and articles relating to the blues revival of the sixties, in which I was heavily involved - and in fact still am, as lead guitarist in a Cream tribute band. But there is nothing that even approaches this masterpiece. The research that has gone into this monumental work has resulted in the greatest piece of orgasmic nostalgia relating to the period that has ever been published. One additional advantage for me is that I am fortunate enough to have a good memory for dates and remember the details of every show I attended at the time.To then be able to check the details of each of those gigs in this magnificent book is a total joy.

I could go on for pages with accolades for this work. Don't listen to me. Just buy it. And read and re-read it - you'll never tire of it. Utterly brilliant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blues in London, 27 Feb 2009
By 
E. J. Medcalf "filonian" (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965-1970: (Foreword by John Mayall) (Paperback)
This is a great companion to memory - looking through the gig details I remember some of the occasions. I hope that the book will stimulate more memories so that an even more complete picture of the time can be created and include such detail as the stuffed bear at Cream club performances, the uncertain appearance of EC at Mayall gigs and the "Carrot in the flies" in Fleetwood Mac sessions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The 1960`s revisited., 6 May 2013
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This review is from: Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965-1970: (Foreword by John Mayall) (Paperback)
If you grew up during the Briitish Blues boom of the 60`s as i did and love listening to the music of Eric Clapton, Cream, John Mayall, and Peter Green etc, this is the book for you. Superbly well written, i absolutely loved the journey back to my youth that this book took me on.
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