Friday, February 23, 2018


When Mayall's regular guitar player couldn't make a festival date awhile back, the 50-year vet didn't panic, he simply went ahead with the show, handling everything with himself on keys, plus the bass player and drummer. Bad move, guitar man. Mayall liked the trio format so much, he's been touring that way for over a year now. Always one to explore and change, Mayall liked the freedom and focus being even more upfront brought him.

In this new and quite exciting purple batch of his career, Mayall's been pumping out both new and archival albums of late, and this one documents the trio at work, recorded in Germany last year at two live dates. The trio also features bassist Greg Rzab and drummer Jay Davenport, plus Mayall sings and brings in a surprising amount of harmonica lines to fill in. But the best part is the interplay between the three musicians, tight grooves and lots of moments where you can hear them listening intently to each other, adding those spontaneous touches that the real player live for. There's lots of variety, as Mayall goes through his volumes of influences, from the old legends to modern interpretations from the likes of Curtis Salgado, to a couple of his own recent numbers. There's a wonderful closer, Sonny Landreth's Congo Square, where Mayall gets swampy on the minor keys, and Davenport goes voodoo, a real tour-de-force, and the audience responds in kind.

The British blues godfather is ready to keep pumpin' too. He's promised another new album for later this year, only now with guitar players (he says plural) welcomed back. Age seems at this point a real motivator for Mayall.

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