A reminder of my mis-spent youth... saw John Mayall and his band – the current lineup is Greg Rzab on bass and Jay Davenport on drums (but they no longer use the Bluesbreakers tag) – play the Theatre Royal in Norwich last night (25 October) as part of their 35-date Livin' & Lovin' the Blues 2017 UK tour. They call Mayall "the Godfather of British Blues" and he still is... Fast approaching his 84th birthday, he knows how to boogie and can still deliver a 90-minute action packed show. The show's finale is Congo Square from his 1980 album A Sense of Place. I last saw him at Leeds Uni in about 1970 and before that at a club in Scarborough. Where did the years go?
As we slip into the long weekend in the UK, here's a video of some psychedelic pop by Nirvana. That's the original 1960s Brit band (here seen in a later 1970s manifestation) not the later Kurt Cobain band.
The band Pink Floyd feature in a novel I'm currently writing (and in effect provide the backing track to the text) so, out of interest, I recently ran a Twitter survey to discover which were people's favourite Floyd albums – besides The Dark Side of the Moon.
The results were not as I suspected...
In first place on 47% was The Wall beating Wish You Were Here on 32%. Then came the 1971 album Meddle on 16%, beating Animals into fourth place on just 5%. All of which just goes to show there's a lot of it about!
Just taken delivery of tickets to see John Mayall – the Godfather of British Blues – in Norwich in October. Of course he's ancient now (no disgrace, so am I) however at this distance in time we tend to forget just what a huge impact Mayall had on the UK pop, blues and Mod scenes in the first part of the 1960s.
I still have a copy of his 1964-vintage 45 single with Crawling up a Hill on the A-side and Mr. James (about the Chicago slide guitarist Elmore James) on the flip. Growing up as a teenage schoolboy in Scarborough, I was already aware I was living in a small town and needed to get out. The Mayall song Crawling up a Hill, with its lyrics about heading to London town, for a better scene, and the kind of music that won't bring you down, resonated very strongly in me – even if it actually took me another eight years to get there!
By way of a compare and contrast, here's the original Mayall version and a much later (2003/04) version by Katie Melua (which goes for a more laid-back jazzier approach) from 40 years later.
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