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"So Many Roads: An Anthology 1964-1974" is a long overdue 4CD 75-Track Book Set for England's Blues Rock maverick JOHN MAYALL. There's a huge trawl of great stuff on here so let's get to the blues breakers and shakers right away... UK released July 2010 on Universal 532 764-2 (Barcode 600753276426) - here are the disc-by-disc details:

Disc 1 (78:11 minutes):
1. Crawling Up A Hill
2. Mr. James (1 and 2 are A & B-sides of a May 1964 UK 7" single on Decca F 11900)
3. When I'm Gone
4. R&B Time
5. Runaway
6. What's The Matter With You (3 to 6 from the March 1965 UK LP "John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers" on Decca LK 4680)
7. Crocodile Walk
8. Blues City Shake Down (7 and 8 are A&B-sides of an April 1965 UK 7" single on Decca F 12120)
9. I'm Your Witchdoctor
10. Telephone Blues (9 and 10 are the A&B-sides of an October 1965 UK 7" single on Immediate IM012)
11. On Top Of The World (first appeared on the December 1967 UK LP compilation "Blues Anytime Vol.2" on Immediate IMCP 105)
12. They Call It Stormy Monday (part of the 1969 UK compilation LP "Looking Back" on Decca SKL 5010)
13. Have You Ever Loved A Woman (part of the 1977 "Primal Solos" UK compilation LP on London LC 50003)
14. All Your Love
15. Double Crossing Time
16. Steppin' Out
17. What'd I Say
18. Key To Love
19. Parchman Farm (14 to 19 are from the July 1966 UK LP "Blues Breakers" nu John Mayall with Eric Clapton on Decca LK 4804)
20. Looking back
21. So Many Roads (20 and 21 are the A&B-sides of an October 1966 UK 7" single on Decca F 12506)
22. Long Night (from the January 1967 UK LP "Raw Blues" on Ace Of Clubs SCL 1220)
23. Dust My Blues
24. The Stumble (23 and 24 are from the February 1967 UK LP "A Hard Road" on Decca SKL 4853)
[Notes: 1 to 11, 14 to 21 are in MONO - all others are STEREO; CD1 also has an uncredited Track 25 which is simply called "Title 25"]

Disc 2 (76:44 minutes):
1. You Don't Love Me
2. It's Over
3. The Super-Natural (1 to 3 are from the February 1967 UK LP "A Hard Road" on Decca SKL 4853)
4. Sittin' In The Rain (A-side to a January 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12545)
5. Ridin' On The L&N
6. All My Life (5 and 6 are from a January 1967 UK EP "John Mayall Bluesbreakers with Paul Butterfield" on Decca DFE 8673)
7. Double Trouble (A-side of a June 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12621)
8. Suspicions (Part One) (A-side of an October 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12684)
9. Oh Pretty Woman
10. Snowy Wood
11. Checkin' Up On My Baby (9 to 11 are from the September 1967 UK LP "Crusade" by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers)
12. No More Tears
13. Brand New Start (12 and 13 are from the November 1967 UK LP "The Blues Alone" on Ace Of Clubs SCL 1243)
14. Picture On The Wall (A-side of a February 1968 UK 7" single on Decca F 12732)
15. Look In The Mirror
16. No Reply
17. Hartley Quits (15 to 17 are from the June 1968 UK LP "Bare Wires" on Decca SKL 4945)
18. 2401 (A-side of a November 1968 UK 7" single on Decca F 12846)
19. Walking On Sunset
20. Medicine Man
21. Miss James
22. Fly Tomorrow (19 to 22 are from the November 1968 UK LP "Blues From Laurel Canyon" on Decca SKL 4972)
[Notes: 4 to 8, 12 to 14 and 18 are MONO - all others are STEREO]

Disc 3 (75:38 minutes):
1. The Laws Must Change
2. California
3. Room To Move (1 to 3 are from the November 1969 UK LP "The Turning Point" on Polydor 583 571)
4. Sleeping By Her Side (recorded at the Fillmore East 12 July 1969 - Previously Unreleased)
5. Don't Waste My Time
6. Something New
7. Waiting For The Right Time
8. Counting The Days (5 to 8 are from the April 1970 UK LP "Empty Rooms" on Polydor 583 580)
9. Off The Road
10. Crying
11. Nature's Disappearing (9 to 11 are from the November 1970 UK LP "USA Union" on Polydor 2425 020)
12. Accidental Suicide
13. Prisons On The Road
14. Unanswered Questions (12 to 14 are from the June 1971 UK 2LP Set "Back To The Roots" on Polydor 2657 005)

Disc 4 (77:04 minutes):
1. Television Eye (from the June 1971 UK 2LP Set "Back To The Roots" on Polydor 2657 005)
2. Memories
3. Nobody Cares (2 and 3 are from the 1971 UK album "Memories" on Polydor 2425 085)
4. Good Time Boogie
5. Got To Be This Way
6. Mess Around
7. Country Road (4 to 7 are 'live' from the 1972 UK LP "Jazz Blues Fusion" on Polydor 2425 103)
8. Moving On
9. Things Go Wrong
10. High Pressure Living (8 to 10 are from the 1973 UK LP "Moving On" on Polydor 2391 047)
11. Driving 'Til The Break Of Day
12. Burning Sun (11 and 12 are from the 1973 UK LP "Ten Years Are Gone" on Polydor 2683 036)
13. Little Kitten
14. Gasoline Blues (13 and 14 are from the 1974 UK LP "The Latest Edition" on Polydor 2391 141)

The attached 38-page colour booklet is a treasure of great photos (many unpublished until now), album sleeves, concert posters, trade adverts for singles on Decca and brilliant liner-notes by MARK POWELL (has contributed to major Universal box set projects and Esoteric CD reissues). All the big musician names that travelled through the Mayall catalyst camp are in here too - Eric Clapton, Peter Green, John McVie, Mick Taylor, Paul Butterfield, Jack Bruce, Aynsley Dunbar, Hughie Flint, Keef Hartley, Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Johnny Almond, Roger Dean and a whole plethora of other luminaries too numerous to mention.

But for me the big news is the fabulous PASCHAL BYRNE remasters carried out at The Audio Archiving Company in London from original master tapes. I've got most of the important Sixties albums on great Decca remasters ("Blues Breakers", "Bare Wires" and the mighty "Blues From Laurel Canyon") - but what a blast to hear Disc 3 and 4 where it stretches into uncharted remasters - the Seventies. I love the weary piano misery of "Nobody Cares" (from 1971's "Memories") and the live slinky Blues of "Country Road" with a band that's cooking in front of an appreciative crowd (dig Clifford Soloman on Sax). And Laurel Canyon's 9-minute "Fly Tomorrow" is trippy genius - featuring superb Mick Taylor guitar work (later with The Stones) while Colin Allen gives it some California Tabla and cool vibes. It also sounds glorious. You get a little Jazz Blues on "High Pressure Living" and it ends on the funky "Gasoline Blues" bemoaning the foreign oil crisis ("I'm stuck out here in the Hollywood hills...waiting in line 'til your engine croaks...").

"I'll be way up in the sky...", John Mayall sings on "Fly Tomorrow". If you want to start your journey - then I'd advise you begin your trip with him to the many varieties of The Blues right here...
22 comments| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Seeing some of the reviews here from "hardcore" Mayall fans there is a real danger of intruding into private grief. If so to make matters even worse, and on the basis that confession is good for the soul, a terrible secret needs to be unveiled. No beating around the bush will hide the fact that only one John Mayall album is to be found in this properties record racks and it is of course the ubiquitous Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. This has been a source of enduring shame and bearing in mind that Mayall at the age of 77 is currently touring to promote his 57th album then there is some catching up to do. Yet for the interested as opposed to the fanatical, who probably own the totality of the fifty plus albums, "So many roads" is a fine starting point which contains a wealth of finest music from the finest era of this grandee of British blues.

Mayall's assorted Bluesbreakers lineups amount to one of the greatest cast list of premier division rock musicians which are unsurpassed by any other blues or rock outfit for that matter. Clapton of course stands top of the pile but let us not forget Jack Bruce, Peter Green, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Mick Taylor, Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Harvey Mandel, Aynsley Dunbar, Jon Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Andy Fraser (well at least for a couple of weeks!), Walter Trout and Coco Montoya amongst many others. Clapton following his departure from the Yardbirds was a blues hardliner who was travelling through to bigger, but not always better things. His Gibson Les Paul probably was recipient of his finest guitar work and his playing on the cover of Ray Charles "What I'd say" is surprisingly funky (although I could do without the drum solo) while the sublime "All your love" and and "Steppin Out" still resonate down the years and have not aged a day.

Clapton's replacement by Peter Green was a master-stroke by Mayall and his compositions like the instrumental "Supernatural" showcase a burgeoning song writing talent and act as a precursor for latter Fleetwood Mac songs. Indeed following the gift of this album I have gone out and purchased "A hard road" with the stunning guitar solo on "the Stumble" being a force of nature. This box set also includes the excellent single "Double Trouble" with a blues so deep you could bury it in the Delta. Overall it has taken over forty years for your idiotic reviewer to discover a staple fact known to the most basic Mayall fans that "A hard road" is easily the equal of Bluesbreakers and possibly better.

Throughout the various incarnations of the group Mayall has been a fierce and uncompromising taskmaster even though he himself has evolved just check out "Moving on" bedecked with horns that create the sort of jazz fusion which could have graced an album by George Clinton's funk pranksters Parliament, while the cover of Ray Charles "Mess around" should liven any party. The 4 CDs in "So Many Roads" charts a fascinating musical evolution interspersed with the injection of stellar musicians with noticeably different styles. True Mayall may often be seen as a catalyst rather than innovator but the evidence here suggest that more than Clapton, the Stones, the Yardbirds the basic forms of music which led to the development and dominance of British music throughout the 1970s and 80s around the world are to be located in the early work of John Mayall as such "So many roads" is a timely reminder of the man's greatness and enduring influence.
11 comment| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 August 2012
I've been a fan of John Mayall's music right from hearing his first album 'Live At Klooks Kleek' way back in the sixties. This amazing performer has done more than anyone to keep blues and it's traditions alive for so many years.His various band line up's is like a who's who of modern blues think Eric Clapton (Bluesbreakers the greatest British blues album ever ),Peter Green,Walter Trout,Coco Montoya,Mick Taylor, John McVie,Aynsley Dunbar,Buddy Whittington,Keef Hartley,Hughie Flint,yes the list could go on but you see what I mean,this man is truly a music legend in every sense.I've seen him live so many times over the years and even now in his seventies he leads one of the finest bands around,listen to his most recent album 'Tough' to see how he still produces music at the cutting edge of blues.
So to this 4 disc box set, it's absolutely chock full of goodies from the period 1964 - 1974, a decade that saw many of those mentioned above in his touring and recording band. Listen to Clapton's playing of 'Steppin' Out' the beginning really of his incredible careeer, with Mayal as a player he developed incredibly,The iamazing introduction of Peter Green on tracks like 'The Stumble' and 'The Supernatural', or leading on one of my all time PG tracks 'You Don't Love Me',don't forget in this band was already the nucleus of Fleetwood Mac.With Mick Tatlor surely one of the Uk's greatest guitarists of all on tracks like 'Oh Pretty Woman', 'Snowy Wood' and 'Walking On Sunset'.This is a set so full of jewels and blues riches that souns as great now s when they were first recorded.In all 74 tracks that chart the early career of a great,yet already here are for us to enjoy over and over again, a bounty of truly great blues and some jazz fusion for good measure.There are a few unreleased tracks, but it's main content is the cream of the albums of the period and they were and remain among the very best of the Bluesbreakers catalogue.All tracks are digitally remastered to sound superb,done in hard back book style with plenty of facts and interesting photos,band line up's for every track.All in all a wonderful,joyous and great collection of absolute classic John Mayall, not the same old blues but a rich tapestry of the best of briains finest doing what he's done so well for so many years. Thanks John !
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 July 2010
Do not be put off by a certain negative 'customer's' review of this set. It's MEANT to be a repackaging! Lots of people welcome this, and of course the music speaks for itself.
22 comments| 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 September 2012
4 remastered CDs, with 74 awesome tracks, and a colourful booklet too...
If you like British Blues, and you want something good from John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, with info, but you not have money to buy all the records from this period, or just don't want it, "anthologically" speaking, this is it!!!
I like It!...
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on 21 June 2013
anyone who wants to listen to someone who should be one of the true greats should buy this release.
john mayall has had virtually every great musician in his band from eric clapton mick taylor jimmy page jeff beck and many more.
they all served their apprenticeship wiyh his bands and went on to world stardom.
youve heard of them now listen to the master.
also recommended is his best album BLUES FROM LAUREL CANYON.
mick cousins
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on 3 May 2016
Whilst I think that the selection of tracks , and the overall musicianship and performances are outstanding , I must take a mark off for the packaging . The box is sturdy enough , and the booklet notes excellent , but as mid-size it doesn't cater well for the disc storage , which overlap in their holders , and are awkward to remove and replace without extreme care to avoid scratching them. Top marks for the music however.
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on 12 March 2015
A great retrospectro over his long career. Poor packing for the cd's thou. The fall out all the time
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on 19 July 2010
Record companies don't seem to get the point. The people who want "Greatest Hits" don't buy 4-CD box sets, and the people who DO buy 4-CD box sets expect rarities and previously unreleased content. This set offers nothing for John Mayall's loyal fans. John Mayall has always been highly restrictive with his Decca & Polydor vault material, and this pointless collection shows that Mayall's anti-collectors stance has not changed. Anyone with even a reasonable collection of Mayall's Decca & Polydor albums has most of these tracks. This set is merely a waste of paper & plastic.
66 comments| 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 October 2014
Everything you want from early Blue'sbreakers abbreviated.
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