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

JAMES “WEE WILLIE” WAYNE CONSIDERED (2015): Not tending to his business

JAMES “WEE WILLIE” WAYNE CONSIDERED (2015): Not tending to his business

Such mystery as there is about rhythm'n'blues singer James Wayne is compounded by the well-meaning writer of the liner notes to the 1980 Dutch compilation Travelin' From Texas to New Orleans,... > Read more

DEREK TRUCKS INTERVIEWED (2009): Allman and Clapton, but his own man

DEREK TRUCKS INTERVIEWED (2009): Allman and Clapton, but his own man

For someone yet to hit 30, the Jacksonville, Florida-based singer-guitarist Derek Trucks has achieved a lot. But then, he was almost born to it. His uncle is drummer Butch Trucks of the Allman... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Little Willies: Lou Reed (2005)

The Little Willies: Lou Reed (2005)

The idea of the improbable is always enjoyable. It is the basis of Dada and Surrealism, not to mention a few good dreams and a whole lot of Monty Python-type humour. And so you can guess when... > Read more

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii: Sunday morning, coming down

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii: Sunday morning, coming down

The sky is a perfect and pale comic-book blue, the breeze as warm as a whisper. Palm trees line the white sandy beach, the very image of a Pacific cliché. In the downtown streets before the shops... > Read more