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"CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL" - EPISODE # 31 -" THE BLUES, REIMAGINED" - FEATURING THE ALBUM "BLUES FROM LAUREL CANYON" (Decca, 1968) By JOHN MAYALL WITH NARRATIVE BY CAPTAIN BILLY

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CAPTAIN BILLY DELIVERS ANOTHER OF HIS 8 TRACK TREASURES!

“THE BLUES, REIMAGINED”

BLUES FROM LAUREL CANYON by John Mayall (Decca, 1968)

I have owned this audio diary on vinyl, reel to reel, and 8 track, so I guess this has to be considered one of my essential, go-to recordings, by default. When I was in High School I would listen to it incessantly, with headphones on, in the dark of my bedroom, and dream of that Mecca, Los Angeles. And here I am now, having lived in L.A. for almost 30 years, and Mayall’s romantic evocation still feels fresh. This is an extremely intimate, personalized expression of the British Bluesbreaker’s American odyssey, and in reflection, I recollect that BLUES FROM LAUREL CANYON, with its mysterious allure, was my introduction to life on the Left Coast.

Mayall introduces us to real-life L.A. characters, such as Bob Hite (The Bear) of Canned Heat, Frank Zappa, and Catherine James (Miss James), as he explores the environs adjacent to Sunset Blvd., and sends back dispatches from the front, all filtered through the eyes and ears of a foreigner. And, the music – although rooted in blues, is all his own: surprising and irresistible.

Mayall could never really sing that well, but, goddamn, like Jerry Garcia’s croak, it’s one of those voices that I don’t want to live without. And, of course… that signature harp! He’s well into his 80’s now, and my family went to see him at the Long Beach Music Festival a few years back, and he was still swinging.

On this record he has the support of the great Mick Taylor and Peter Green on guitars; he plays harp, organ, and guitar with sensitivity and originality; Colin Allen is on drums, and Stephen Thompson’s on bass. There are no spaces between the tracks, so they seamlessly flow from mood to mood, weaving a spell which starts strong and never lets up.

There have been many blues greats over the years, and scads of essential blues recordings, but I’d venture to guess, very few this unique.

“Vacation” “Walking on Sunset” “Laurel Canyon Home” “2401” “Ready to Ride” “Medicine Man” “Somebody’s Acting Like a Child” “The Bear” “Miss James” “First Time Alone” “Long Gone Midnight” “Fly Tomorrow” Bonus tracks “2401” (Single version) “Wish You Were Mine” – 8:36 (Live ‘68, previously on Primal Solos)


By Rich Buckland 10/20/2021 06:27 PM

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