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John Mayall - Blues From Laurel Canyon

Review: 056
Date: 31 Dec 01


Rating: 4 Stars

John Mayall - Vocals, Keyboards, and Mouth Organ
Mick Taylor - Pre Rolling Stones Blues Guitar
Stephen Thompson - Bass
Colin Allen - Drums

Tracks Listing:
1. Vacation
2. Walking On Sunset
3. Laurel Canyon Home
4. 2401
5. Ready To Ride
6. Medicine Man
7. Somebody’s Acting Like A Child
8. The Bear
9. Miss James
10. First Time Alone
11. Long Gone Midnight
12. Fly Tomorrow


This fine collection of songs, could well have been subtitled “Thoughts of an English Gentleman on holiday in America”, as this album is the story of John Mayall’s 3 week vacation in Los Angeles, written between the break up of his ambitious large entourage of the Blues Breakers which had just recently released “Bare Wires” (most of whom went off to form the wonderful Colloseum) and this solo effort.

One of the most amazing things about this album is that the whole thing was recorded in 3 days, between 26th and 28th August 1968 at Decca’s London studios, the band had been together only 2 weeks, but sound as if they’ve been playing for year’s, only Mick Taylor remained from the previous line – up, making him a veteran by Mayall’s standards, his previous two guitarist’s having lasted an album each, (Eric Clapton for “Blues Breakers” leaving to form Cream and Peter Green for “Hard Road” leaving to form Fleetwood Mac). After this album Colin Allen would move on to rattle the traps with Scottish Rockers “Stone the Crow’s, whilst of course the Glimmer twins would come in to smuggle away Mick Taylor for the Rolling Stones, leaving Mayall in his perpetual quest for new and inspiring musicians.

The songs are laid out in chronological order from arrival to departure, and the results of their labours has brought forth some wonderful fruit. Mick Taylor was never to better his licks here, the introduction to “The Bear” (Mayalls take of his exploits on the town in Los Angeles with American Bluesters Canned heat) is worth the price of the album on its own, also the soloing from both the guitarist and Mayall himself on the closing jam of “Fly Tomorrow” should stand as a monument of how to lay bare your soul for the rest of time. Peter Green makes a guest appearance on the atmospheric “First Time Alone”, add Mayall’s trademark mouth harp and the standard of musicianship is very high indeed. The lyrics by the nature of the songs are very self indulgent, but then you can’t have everything, and lets face, it you can only write about what you know.

For those not famililiar with the works of Mr. Mayall this is a good entry point, but be prepared for a bumpy side, as his style changes dramatically over the years.

Out of interest a few other musicians who at sometime were in John Mayall’s Blue Breakers reads like a who’s who of the British Blues boom, including Jack Bruce, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Jon Hiseman, Aynsley Dunbar, Hughie Flint, Coco Montoya, and of course to complete the Cream connection for one gig Ginger Baker.


Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew


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