Sunday, November 29, 2020

Breaking Blues

I was originally planning to do the 80th b'day of flugelhorn flogger Chuck Mangione today, but I didn't feel the 1973 show I had was up to snuff soundwise. Then energies shifted elsewhere.

For it's also the 87th birthday -- seniority, you know -- of another legendary figure, and one who nearly six decades ago helped get the ball rolling on a very fertile period in the music of our age.

That he is still alive at his advanced age, and still carrying the torch for the music, makes it all the sweeter.

They called it the British Blues Boom back then, and it unleashed a great deal of the music everyone worships for the last 50 years from Eric Clapton to Fleetwood Mac and back again.

Why this happened this way has been the subject of dozens of books and films.

They're still wondering, why? How did The Blues -- the indigenous, articulated suffering song of an oppressed minority in a faraway land -- cross the pond and get adopted, recapitulated and repurposed by white, well-off kids in the UK?

The answers to those questions are probably more detailed than a single post here could cover.
Our 87th birthday guy sure helped ask the questions, anyway. The list of luminaries that have passed through his band is so extensive, it reads like a Hall Of Fame in and of itself.

So yeah, yesterday I dug out my John Mayall folder and went diggin'.

Originally I had intended just to share a single set from the Fillmore East from 50 years ago.

However, as soon as I went down the rabbit hole, things got a little crazy. But it's a good folder, you know?

I think it was the late, great Daniel Johnston who said that he leaned towards the excessive... but that's just how it is when you're a manic depressive. So here's four hours of the best live Bluesbreakers -- featuring three of his best bands -- that be.

John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers
NYC 70 + Gothenburg 72

Fillmore East
New York City, NY USA

01 "Casablanca" intro/band introductions
02 Train I Ride
03 Can't Be Wrong for Long
04 The Laws Must Change
05 Be with You Tonight
06 Jumping At Shadows
07 Move, Baby, Move jam

Total time: 57:34

John Mayall – vocals, keyboards, harmonica & guitar
Jon Mark – guitar
Alex Dmochowski  – bass
Johnny Almond – tenor saxophone & flute
Duster Bennett – harmonica, guitar & drums

48k soundboard master reel from the collection of David Gans, transferred by Charlie Miller and edited/mastered by SIRMick
converted to CD Audio 16/44 by EN, November 2020
Fillmore East
New York City, NY USA

early set
01 You Must Be Crazy
02 Deep Blue Sea
03 My Pretty Girl
04 Someday Baby (You'll Be Sorry) 
05 Possessive Emotions
06 Nature's Disappearing
07 encore break
08 We Get Along (Nobody Treats Me Like You Do)

late set
01 introduction by John Mayall
02 Deep Blue Sea
03 Going Out Walking
04 Took the Car
05 Off the Road
06 Why (Do You Treat Me So Mean)?
07 Possessive Emotions
08 encore break
09 My Pretty Girl

Total time: 1:55:27

John Mayall - vocals, keyboards, harmonica & guitar
Harvey Mandel - guitar
Larry Taylor - bass

48k soundboard master reel from the collection of David Gans, transferred by Charlie Miller and edited/mastered by SIRMick
converted to CD Audio 16/44 -- with the first 90 seconds of the early set repaired/restored from existing bits -- by EN, November 2020
589 MB FLAC here
Gothenburg, Sweden
01 Driving Dangerously   
02 Mess Around
03 Good Time Boogie/That’s Alright for You
04 Times Are Getting Tougher 
05 I Wish I Could Understand/Baby, What Do You Have to Lose 
06 Dry Throat 

Total time: 1:08:28

John Mayall - vocals, harmonica, keyboards & guitar
Freddie Robinson - guitar & vocals
Blue Mitchell - trumpet & flugelhorn
Clifford Solomon - tenor saxophone
Victor Gaskin - bass
Keef Hartley - drums

master cassette of an indeterminate FM broadcast from Swedish radio
transferred and remastered by 38f
track markers modified and FM announcer removed by EN, November 2020
460 MB FLAC here

I repaired the beginning of the October 1970 Fillmore show from existing materials, and I'd dare say I did a real tasty job on it too. Tell me how you liked it.

This will do it for me for November, and now it's time to figure out December and wrap up this insane, mega-challenging year.

Don't miss out on this exquisitely unissued triple play of our birthday Blues Maestro, though! It's gonna give you all the room to move!--J.


  1. A friend went to a John Mayall concert, might have been LA. He came on stage: "You know we play blues and jazz. How many people are here tonight to hear the blues?" Big roar from crowd. "That's too bad. Tonight we're playing jazz." Three hours of jazz ensued. My friend was deeply disappointed. Thanks for sharing the blues.

  2. fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1