John Mayall: Tough (Eagle)

 |   |  <1 min read

John Mayall: How Far Down
John Mayall: Tough (Eagle)

Given this seminal blueman's low profile in the marketplace this past decade or two, it can only be his impending New Zealand tour which has seen the Antipodean release of this, his 57th, album. Yes, 57 -- and that doesn't count compilations.

You'd expect by now that John Mayall might have run out of things to say, but not at all. Here he addresses the economic downturn (Tough Times Ahead), his alcoholism (Slow Train to Nowhere), his dislike of hip-hop (That Good Old Rocking Blues) . . . 

Always an astute picker of guitar players (his scouting didn't stop with Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor in the Sixties), here he has the hard and seasoned Texas player Rocky Athas who brings some sting and venom.

But it is in the slower and more coiled material (How Far Down) and the fiery jazzy An Eye for an Eye where this album really shines.

No one has any right to expect a great album from Mayall at this point in his career (he's 76), and to be fair this isn't a great album. But it is far from a workmanlike offering and when it fires on all cylinders you can understand why Mayall -- live at least -- still commands a loyal following.

(For a truly great Mayall album check Blues From Laurel Canyon, an Essential Elsewhere album) 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Blues articles index

ALLIGATOR RECORDS 1971 - 2011: Four decades of brittle and often brilliant blues

ALLIGATOR RECORDS 1971 - 2011: Four decades of brittle and often brilliant blues

In his excellent book More Miles Than Money, subtitled “journeys through American music”, the expat London-based writer Garth Cartwright meets Bruce Iglauer who founded the Alligator... > Read more

Ash Grunwald: Trouble's Door (Grunwald/Border)

Ash Grunwald: Trouble's Door (Grunwald/Border)

Australian Grunwald is a one-man dreadlocked folk, rock and boilied-up blues singer-guitarist, and live he certainly delivered well received sets at the recent Womad. But, as with so many Womad... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WOMAD TARANAKI CONSIDERED (2013): Some thoughts from the frontline

WOMAD TARANAKI CONSIDERED (2013): Some thoughts from the frontline

Although no one doubted the need for rain . . . but on the final day of Womad? And just two days after a drought has been declared? This rare occurrence – only the second in the... > Read more

John Fogerty: Revival (Fantasy)

John Fogerty: Revival (Fantasy)

Now back on his original label after decades of litigation, animosity and a refusal to play the Creedence Clearwater Revival hits that made his repuation, Fogerty sounds like a man at peace with... > Read more