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

The Groundhogs: Blues Obituary 50th Anniversary (Fire/Southbound)

The Groundhogs: Blues Obituary 50th Anniversary (Fire/Southbound)

The Groundhogs are not a band you hear much, if ever, mentioned these days. They emerged at the start of the British blues boom in the early Sixties and – with singer/guitarist Tony McPhee as... > Read more

Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials: Jump Start (Alligator)

Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials: Jump Start (Alligator)

When Bruce Iglauer founded Alligator Records in Chicago 40 years ago it was to release albums by the likes of Hound Dog Taylor and Albert Collins who were burning up local clubs with their... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

EPs by Yasmin Brown

EPs by Yasmin Brown

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Yasmin Brown. She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in... > Read more

JAMES BROWN INTERVIEWED (2004): I'll go crazy?

JAMES BROWN INTERVIEWED (2004): I'll go crazy?

We go through a very polite Mr Bobbitt, James Brown's business manager. He warns "everything with him is 'Mister' and do not speak about his personal business or his family... > Read more