John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers Live in 1967

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John-Mayall-LIVEJohn Mayall’s Bluesbreakers
Live in 1967
(Forty Below)
In A Word: Greenish-blues

Influential British blues revivalist John Mayall‘s vocal, instrumental and songwriting skills were matched by his knack for stocking his band, the Bluesbreakers, with a series of stellar players who’d go on to become rock royalty. This recently unearthed 77-minute live set features a short-lived but historic Bluesbreakers lineup that includes ill-fated guitar genius Peter Green and the stellar rhythm section of bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood.

Although the latter three would break with Mayall to launch Fleetwood Mac three months later, they sound fully engaged throughout Live in 1967, and the somewhat bootleggy recording quality can’t disguise the players’ skill and chemistry. Mayall, manning the organ for most of the set, is in fine, howling voice, but it’s the under-documented Green who’s the album’s biggest selling point.

He doesn’t disappoint, cutting loose with bone-rattling intensity on several Freddie King and Otis Rush numbers, including a pair of King tunes from the then-current Bluesbreakers album A Hard Road. It’s fascinating to hear Green’s snaky take on Rush’s “All Your Love,” which Mayall originally recorded with Green’s predecessor Eric Clapton, as well as Rush’s “I Can’t Quit You Baby” and Mayall’s “Streamline,” both of which Mayall would later cut in the studio with Green’s successor Mick Taylor.

Scott Schinder

Scott Schinder

Scott Schinder has written written about music and popular culture for various publications in the U.S. and overseas, including Rolling Stone, Creem, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, Time Out New York, Newsday, Stereophile, Musician, Tower Pulse, New Musical Express, Melody Maker and Texas Music. He's also written several music-related books and liner notes for numerous CD reissues and box sets and has contributed essays and other pieces to several other books, including all six editions of The Trouser Press Record Guide.
Scott Schinder
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