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Music Review: John Mayall – Live in London (2CD/DVD)

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John Mayall, “The Godfather of the Blues,” continues to draw audiences to his live shows, including this one, which was recorded at the Leicester Square Theatre in London on November 1, 2010. Anybody who’s a fan will recognize most of the tunes contained in this 2-CD set or on DVD. The one tune that most people consider his signature tune is “Room To Move,” and in this rendition Mayall manages to breathe new life into it. As the liner notes say, it’s a “Room to Move” to remember. You’ll hear new and different scat lyrics in it, plus it’s got a slightly slowed-down tempo, which gives it a totally different (yet still a jumping, mesmerizing) spin. When you consider that Mayall will soon turn 78, it’s all the more amazing what he accomplishes here.

Another of Mayall’s signature songs in this set is “California,” an anthem to his adopted home. You’ll also recognize “Chicago Line,” “Parchman Farm” and “Early In The Morning.” Mayall’s backing band for this performance includes Rocky Athas on guitar, Greg Rzab on bass, and Jay Davenport on drums.

Over the years, Mayall has introduced an amazing line-up of musicians, mostly guitarists. Marc Almond, Eric Clapton, Aynsley Dunbar, Mick Fleetwood, Hughie Flint, Andy Fraser, Peter Green, Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Jon Hiseman, Harvey Mandel, Jon Mark, John McVie, Coco Montoya, Larry Taylor, Mick Taylor, Walter Trout and Buddy Whittington all got their first taste of fame working with Mayall, and they’ve all gone on to become household names on both sides of the Pond.

I’ve listened to and watched Mayall’s performances with a different lineup each and every time, stretching from the late ’60s to as recently as 2007, and he’s never failed to bring down the house with notable performances, regardless of who backs him or even when he performs solo.

You won’t find either the CD or DVD on Amazon, though, or any of the other usual places. But you can find both at Mayall’s website, which seems to be the only place you can actually get this particular release.

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About Lou Novacheck