Who but John Mayall, could get twenty seasoned guest players and one rookie, on one CD, and make it sound so easy. The guys in the studio must have been in shock every session.
The list is a who's who in music history. It includes Gary Moore, fellow Fleetwood Mac alumni Peter Green--whoa!, Mick Fleetwood and John Mcvie for the first time in 30 years, Mick Taylor, Billy Gibbons, Jonny Lang, Billy Preston, Otis Rush, Steve Cropper, Joe Yuele, Steve Miller, Andy Farweather Low, Buddy Whittington, Shannon Curfman, Red Holloway, Jeff Healey and Chris Rea to name just a few (most of them blues-breaker's alumni). You would think this might be a cluster-bomb of smokin' showboat licks, but it isn't.
There are thirteen very-very good songs, any of which a decent blues rock band would use as covers. Mayall's voice sounds smooth and in command. While I wasn't really able to pick a favorite as they are all cool tunes, I did pick some easy highlights. Billy Gibbon's solo on a Walter Trout tune called Put It Right Back, Jonny Lang on That's Why I love You So, Gary Moore's solo on If I Don't Get Home, Peter Green plays acoustic slide on Yo-Yo Man and sixteen-year-old rookie-Shannon Curfman's voice/guitar work on Testify and Buddy Whittington and Red Holloway on anything.
Mayall's harp and keyboard work is stellar as usual. But what stands out are damn good songs. Not a slacker in the mess. These thirteen cuts move on with ease and you'll be doin' the bump and grind in the soul kitchen. In my opinion the sixty eight-year young blues icon has really out done him-self this time. Not only did he get Fleetwood Mac's blues boys back together, but he has also created a polished CD that's enjoyable to listen to-- even for the novice blues listener. There are forty-two original John Mayall recordings starting in 1965 and this is a "must have" for any listener or collector. If I had any slight disappointment, it would be not enough of recluse blues master Peter Green.
This gets my first, "one-hour commute to work" grade of A+. My hat's off to the keeper of the blue flame--John Mayall. You da man!
This review is copyright © 2001 by Kit M Jones, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.