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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