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 at Elsewhere articles index

BLIND BOY FULLER PROFILED: Still truckin' on

BLIND BOY FULLER PROFILED: Still truckin' on

Unlike so many other bluesmen and women of his era, Blind Boy Fuller (1907-1941) lived a life that was well documented, enormously prolific and fairly profitable by the standards of the day.... > Read more

The Flaming Mudcats: Cut Loose (Mudcat Music)

The Flaming Mudcats: Cut Loose (Mudcat Music)

Now 10 years in the blues-rock game, the Flaming Mudcats here celebrate with a third album of mostly originals by singer/harmonica player Craig Bracken. This tight r'n'b quartet –... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

NEW ZEALAND MUSIC AWARDS 2014: You come a long way, baby

NEW ZEALAND MUSIC AWARDS 2014: You come a long way, baby

Here's something I sometimes tell the young students in my New Zealand Music Studies course at the University of Auckland: The first music awards show I went to in about 1988 was held in a small... > Read more

ZIGGY MARLEY INTERVIEWED (1990): The son also rises

ZIGGY MARLEY INTERVIEWED (1990): The son also rises

Ziggy Marley’s throat is dry and he sounds tired. It’s nearly midnight at the Mayflower Hotel in New York and a day of photo sessions and interviews is almost behind him. But he’s... > Read more