16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
John Mayall - The first decade of "The Godfather of blues" marathon journey,
This review is from: So Many Roads: An Anthology 1964-1974 (Audio CD)
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.
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Initial post: 23 May 2012 18:00:37 BDT
An excellent, well thought out and written review.
So much more useful to customers checking out this set than the whinging of certain fans.
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