Tuesday, May 5, 2020

John Mayall - John Mayall Plays John Mayal (1965 uk, fascinating blues roots 'n' roll, 2008 japan SHM and 2001 with extra tracks)

John Mayall's debut album, recorded live in December 1964, is a little unjustly overlooked, as it was recorded shortly before the first of the famous guitarists schooled in the Bluesbreakers (Eric Clapton) joined the band. With Roger Dean on guitar (and the rhythm section who'd play on the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton album, bassist John McVie and drummer Hughie Flint), it has more of a rock/R&B feel, rather like the early Rolling Stones, than the purer bluesier material Mayall would usually stick to in his subsequent recordings. 

The record doesn't suffer for this, however, moving along quite powerfully, and -- unusually for a British R&B/blues band of the time -- featuring almost nothing but original material, all penned by Mayall. Nigel Stanger's saxophone adds interesting touches to a few tracks, the songs are quite good, and while Dean's guitar and Mayall's vocals aren't on the same level as the best instrumentalists and singers in the British blues-rock movement, they're satisfactory. 

The expanded CD edition added five enjoyable cuts that round up everything else recorded by the pre-Eric Clapton version of the Bluesbreakers, including the 1964 single "Crawling Up a Hill"/"Mr. James"; the early 1965 single "Crocodile Walk"/"Blues City Shakedown"; and the February 1965 outtake "My Baby Is Sweeter," which first showed up on the early-'70s British compilation Thru the Years. "Crawling Up a Hill" and "Crocodile Walk" also appear on the original John Mayall Plays John Mayall album in live performances, but the bonus track versions are entirely different studio recordings done for those non-LP singles, and are pretty good as well.
by Richie Unterberger
Original Album 1965
1. Crawling Up A Hill - 2:21
2. I Wanna Teach You Everything - 3:05
3. When I'm Gone (Smokey Robinson) - 3:08
4. I Need Your Love (Walter Spriggs, Willie Spriggs) - 4:08
5. The Hoot Owl - 2:35
6. R&B Time - Consisting Of Night Train (Jimmy Forrest, Lewis C. Simpkins, Oscar Washington) / Lucille (Al Collins, Richard Penniman) - 2:15
7. Crocodile Walk - 2:26
8. What's The Matter With You - 2:34
9. Doreen - 2:46
10.Runaway- 2:25
11.Heartache - 2:57
12.Chicago Line - 4:10
Bonus Tracks Japan SHM 2008
13.Crawling Up A Hill - 2:19
14.Mr. James - 2:51
15.Crocodille Walk - 2:16
16.Blues City Shakedown - 2:24
17.My Baby Is Sweeter (Willie Dixon) - 3:02

Bonus Tracks Rock Fever 2001
13.I'm Your Witchdoctor - 2:10
14.Telephone Blues - 3:57
15.On Top Of The World - 2:49
16.Lonley Years - 3:18
17.Bernard Jenkins (Eric Clapton) - 3:48
18.Burn Out Your Blind Eyes - 2:57
19.Milkman Strut - 2:23
20.Long Night (John Mayall, Steve Anglo) - 2:01
21.Evil Woman Blues (Peter Green) - 4:02
22.Greeny (Peter Green) - 3:53
23.All My Life (Jimmie Lee Robinson) - 4:22
24.Riding On The L & M (Dan Burley, Lionel Hampton) - 2:27
25.Eagle Eye - 2:49
All songs by John Mayall except where noted

(Original Album)
*John Mayall - Vocals, Harmonica, Cembalett, Organ, 9 String Guitar
*Roger Dean - Guitar
*John Mcvie - Bass Guitar
*Hughie Flint - Drums
*Nigel Stanger - Tenor Saxophone, Slide Saxophone

1964-71  John Mayall - Thru The Years
1966  John Mayall Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton (Japan SHM double disc set)
1967  John Mayall And The Bluesbreakers - A Hard Road (Double Disc Set)
1967  John Mayall's Bluesbreakers - Crusade (2007 SHM remaster with extra tracks)
1968  John Mayall - Blues From Laurel Canyon (2007 Japan SHM remaster)
1969  John Mayall - The Turning Point (Remaster And Expanded)
1972  John Mayall - Moving On (2009 remaster)
1967  Various Artists - Raw Blues

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