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Tough

Tough

4 Sep 2009
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 4 Sept. 2009
  • Release Date: 7 Sept. 2009
  • Label: Eagle Records
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 54:51
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B002N8WLWC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 166,766 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
john mayall just gets better with age,a new band a new lead guitarist (Rocky Athas )and a more up beat sound. John Mayall,s voice has seen better days but for me its keyboard player Tom Canning who makes this album. He is superb not to take it away form the other guys, this is a another great blues package from John. here's to the next one.
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Format: Audio CD
Apparently this is John's 57th studio album and while there is nothing here that compares to his best 60s releases this is a great-sounding, consistent set of material produced by Mayall himself. The band consists of guitarist Rocky Athas, bassist Greg Rzab, drummer Jay Davenport and Tom Canning on keyboards - with Mayall playing harmonica, organ and guitar.

John also writes three new songs "Slow Train To Nowhere" an organ-based slow burner, "That Good Old Rockin' Blues" and "Tough Times Ahead" a commentary on the current world economy. For someone in his mid-70s Mayall still has the puff to play harp on many numbers and the band support him well, with Canning's keyboards being excellent throughout and Rocky Athas contributing good guitar, without being outstanding. Mayall's voice isn't as strong as it was but in some ways that adds to its charm on some numbers. My favourite track is the acoustic(ish) "How far down" (by Nashville's Brian Langlinais), with "Number's down" and the jazzy, organ-led "An eye for an eye" not far behind.

On first listen I was going to give this 3 stars but it has grown on me and I think it definitely deserves four - a good set of songs, with Mayall and the band all on good form. John manages to break some new ground here but there are also nods to the past and it definitely has that distinctive John Mayall sound.
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By Colin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 Sept. 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of John Mayall since my early teens (1970). My introduction was the compilation/retrospective "Looking Back". Loved the Clapton/Green years,Bare Wires, Laurel Canyon, USA Union, Sense of Place, Wake Up Call, Spinning Coin.............
Above all, I love his voice - a haunting, anguished tone that simply drips blues, melancholy.

To be honest, I have not tracked his career, although I have about 20 of his albums I have just realised. Every so often I remember to look at what he has released recently, or a "recommendation" pops up on Amazon for me.
I saw "Tough" appear and I decided to buy it. Boy, do I NOT regret it!? I think it is one of his best.

I think many of us go through phases/moods with regards to what we like to listen to. At times I really dont want to hear another "standard" 12 bar blues, and I have to say many times I simply am not in the mood for another country-jog with John.In recent years I felt he was overdoing the "country feel" - for my mood/tastes. I think the last album of John's that I bought was Padlock on the Blues,although I dont listen to it as often as Sense of Place or Wake Up Call.

SO, I have not followed his evolution of the last 10 years, or the band member changes. This is the first Mayall Album that I have bought for 10 years simply because I saw it pop-up on Amazon and I was signed in to 1-Click ordering. 2 days later I received it, and 1 further day on I am blown away and writing this review.

Several of the tracks are quite rocky, with a brooding heaviness cut-through with John's haunted vocals, and some atmospheric guitarwork. I must say, John's vocals seem as powerful as they ever did.
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Format: Audio CD
Bought this on spec and very glad I did. I've always been a fan of the old guys ridin' into the sunset leavin' a great last album behind (a la Charlie Louvin, Billie Joe Shaver etc.) and this fits the bill. A giant of British Blues speaking his mind and inspiring his band to deliver music of the highest order. If you were to be overly critical, you might think the lyrics a bit basic at times but the man's honesty carries him through. And with such a great band chooglin' him along, he's carried with the respect he so richly deserves.
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Format: Audio CD
Well well, just when you might have thought the old man could have justifiably settled down to review his long and exemplary life as the leading exponent of the British blues scene, he comes out with this set, absolutely brilliant! There is just no-one better than Mayall in putting together one talented band after another.It's great to listen to the new guys in the band strut their stuff, and I'm glad that Tom Canning has remained with the band, being such a talented musician. Has Mayall ever had a single lead guitarist in his many bands that hasn't become a star in his own right? I'm sure Rocky Athas's inspirational lead guitar highlighted here will also put his name up in the limelight in due course.

Others have mentioned John's voice not being as strong as it once was, well that may be true, but on 'That good old rockin' blues' Maggie Mayall's backing vocals provide the perfect compliment, reminding me somewhat of that old rocker Robert Plant's partnership with Alison Krauss in 'Raisin Sand'. Maggie too shows her talent and commitment on this and other tracks.

Seriously, to buy or not to buy this blues CD is a no brainer. Its simply a must have for anyone who loves the blues. There probably are some kids out there who are new to the blues, and who come across this set as the first step in their journey to a lifetime of musical pleasure. That would be great too, and then they can go back through the decades of Bluesbreakers and be hooked for life.
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