John Mayall: Live From Austintx (New West/Elite)

 |   |  1 min read

John Mayall: Maydell
John Mayall: Live From Austintx (New West/Elite)

John Mayall (whose Blues From Laurel Canyon in '68 appears as an Essential Elsewhere, see tag) was undeniably the man who founded the British blues boom in the early 60s and on his albums at the time he covered classic and often little known blues material.

His bands during those years included Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce (who went on to form Cream, among other things); Mick Taylor (later Brian Jones' replacement in the Stones); Peter Green John McVie and Mick Fleetwood (the first Fleetwood Mac); and many more important figures.

Later Mayall also introduced another exceptional guitarist, Coco Montoya, who had learned from Albert Collins and played with Mayall for a decade until the mid 90s.

By the mid 80s however when Montoya joined Mayall, the word "legend" had been attached to Mayall's name -- but fewer and fewer people were listening. To even loyal 60s fans he seemed a quaint figure much respected but seldom investigated.

He did some fine albums with Montoya -- but in truth Mayall's vocals were never a major attraction even in those classic 60s albums. So you come to him with that in mind.

This live session recorded for the Austin City Limits television series comes from the Montoya period (recorded in September '93) and is at its best on material by Mayall's old favourites JB Lenoir, Jimmy Reed and Junior Wells and he plods on a couple of unworthy self-penned lyrics -- but of course the attraction is in the band, Montoya peeling off solos with needlepoint precision, guest guitarist David Grissom on the seven-minute encore Mail Order Mystics (where Mayall sounds like a yappy Neil Young), and Mayall's jazzy and soul-funk keyboards or wheezing harmonica.

He also goes back to his tribute to Bob Hite of Canned Heat for a rollicking version of The Bear, which originally apppeared on his Blues From Laurel Canyon of '68.

If Mayall, who is now 74, has gone past you in say the last decade or three you could do worse than check this out. If the name means little to you, go to the Essential Elsewhere to get the big picture.

There is a DVD of this concert available, part of the excellent Live From Austintx series which also includes live performances by Richard Thompson, Son Volt, Lucinda Williams, Guided by Voices, Dave Alvin, Guy Clark and others.

Excellent series, check it out under the labels link (go to New West) at www.elite.net.nz

Share It

Your Comments

Lachie - Feb 18, 2009


One of the great bluesmen - saw him at Croydon Town Hall 1971 with The Jazz Blues Fusion band featuring Blue Mitchell and Larry "The Mole" Taylor - ex Canned Heat.Very, very memorable!

John, long may you live!!!!

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various Artists; West of Memphis; Voices for Justice (Sony)

Various Artists; West of Memphis; Voices for Justice (Sony)

Celebrity has been debased by reality television, but its power and influence to do good (rather than flog a product or self-serving career) shouldn't be underestimated. Amy Berg's doco West... > Read more

Booker T: Potato Hole (Anti)

Booker T: Potato Hole (Anti)

This was either going to be brilliant, or . . .  First the background: here is the great soul-funk Hammond B3 organ player Booker T (he of Green Onions fame with the MGs, and that band... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: Out of a Clear Blue Sky

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Kevin Saatchi, CEO of the New York-based advertising and media company RobertsAndRoberts, said yesterday he was excited about his company being offered the contract to re-brand New Zealand for the... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Adam McGrath of the Eastern

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Adam McGrath of the Eastern

Over two previous albums – their self-titled debut in 2009 and Arrows the next year – the hard-working Eastern out of Lyttelton firmly established themselves as poets of the public... > Read more