ON THIS DATE (46 YEARS AGO)
July 22, 1966 - John Mayall with Eric Clapton: Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5 (MUST HAVE)
# Allmusic 5/5 stars
Blues Breakers is an album credited to John Mayall With Eric Clapton, released on this date in 1966. It peaked at #6 on the UK chart. In 2003, the album was ranked number 195 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Apart from being one of the most influential blues albums, it also started the now-legendary combination of a Gibson Les Paul guitar through an overdriven Marshall Bluesbreaker amplifier.
The band name John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers that was used by the band consequently is derived from the title of this album; no original issues mention the Bluesbreakers as band name. The album was also known as The Beano Album because of its cover photograph showing Clapton reading The Beano, a British children's comic. Clapton stated in his autobiography that he was reading Beano on the cover because he felt like being "uncooperative" during the photo shoot.
Originally, John Mayall intended for his second album to be a live album in order to capture the guitar solos performed by Eric Clapton. A set was recorded at the Flamingo Club, with Jack Bruce (with whom Clapton would subsequently work in Cream) on bass. The recordings of the concert, however, were of bad quality and were scrapped. With the original plan of a live album now discarded, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers recorded Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton at Decca Studios, West Hampstead in March 1966. The guitar that Eric Clapton used during the sessions was a 1960 Gibson 'sunburst' Les Paul with two PAF (Patent Applied For) 'humbucker' pickups. This guitar, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, is also known as the "Beano" Les Paul, a replica of which has recently been reissued by Gibson.
The band on this album included Mayall on piano, Hammond organ, harmonica and a majority of the vocals; bassist John McVie; drummer Hughie Flint; and Clapton. Augmenting the band on this album was a horn section added post production, with Alan Skidmore, John Almond, and Derek Healey (misrepresented on the sleeve as Dennis Healey).
Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton is full of portent, as some of its participants would become superstars after its release. Future Cream guitarist Eric Clapton was highly rated enough in the UK blues-rock scene to score second billing, but it wasn't until this recording that he'd had the opportunity to truly stretch out in the studio and show off his awesome soloing skills. Clapton's earlier stint in the Yardbirds had found his ideas largely shouted down by pop-oriented producer/manager Giorgio Gomelsky, but here kindred spirit/producer Mike Vernon simply let Clapton play as he wished. The sympathetic rhythm section of Hughie Flint and future Fleetwood Mac founder John McVie, along with Mayall's best-ever vocals and organ, make Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton one of the all-time great British blues albums.
by Bruce Eder, allmusic
Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton was Eric Clapton's first fully realized album as a blues guitarist -- more than that, it was a seminal blues album of the 1960s, perhaps the best British blues album ever cut, and the best LP ever recorded by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Standing midway between Clapton's stint with the Yardbirds and the formation of Cream, this album featured the new guitar hero on a series of stripped-down blues standards, Mayall pieces, and one Mayall/Clapton composition, all of which had him stretching out in the idiom for the first time in the studio. This album was the culmination of a very successful year of playing with John Mayall, a fully realized blues creation, featuring sounds very close to the group's stage performances, and with no compromises. Credit has to go to producer Mike Vernon for the purity and simplicity of the record; most British producers of that era wouldn't have been able to get it recorded this way, much less released. One can hear the very direct influence of Buddy Guy and a handful of other American bluesmen in the playing. And lest anyone forget the rest of the quartet: future pop/rock superstar John McVie and drummer Hughie Flint provide a rock-hard rhythm section, and Mayall's organ playing, vocalizing, and second guitar are all of a piece with Clapton's work. His guitar naturally dominates most of this record, and he can also be heard taking his first lead vocal, but McVie and Flint are just as intense and give the tracks an extra level of steel-strung tension and power, none of which have diminished across several decades.
1. "All Your Love" (Willie Dixon/Otis Rush) – 3:36
2. "Hideaway" (Freddie King/Sonny Thompson) – 3:17
3. "Little Girl" (Mayall) – 2:37
4. "Another Man" (Mayall) – 1:45
5. "Double Crossing Time" (Clapton/Mayall) – 3:04
6. "What'd I Say" (Ray Charles; interpolating "Day Tripper" by John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 4:29
1. "Key to Love" (Mayall) – 2:09
2. "Parchman Farm" (Mose Allison) – 2:24
3. "Have You Heard" (Mayall) – 5:56
4. "Ramblin' on My Mind" (Robert Johnson/Traditional) – 3:10
5. "Steppin' Out" (James Bracken) – 2:30
6. "It Ain't Right" (Walter Jacobs) – 2:42
2006 40th anniversary Deluxe Edition CD (Decca)
Includes all tracks in both mono and stereo: 1-12 as above in mono, 13-24 as 1-12 above in stereo.
13. "Lonely Years" (Mayall) – 3:21
* Single released August of 1966.
14. "Bernard Jenkins" (Clapton) – 3:48
* Released as b-side of "Lonely Years".
25. "Crawling up a Hill" (Mayall) – 2:08
26. "Crocodile Walk" (Mayall) – 2:23
27. "Bye Bye Bird" (Sonny Boy Willamson, Willie Dixon) – 2:49
28. "I'm Your Witchdoctor" (Mayall) – 2:11
* Single released October of 1965.
29. "Telephone Blues" (Mayall) – 3:57
* B-side of "I'm Your Witchdoctor".
30. "Bernard Jenkins" (Clapton) – 3:49
31. "Lonely Years" (Mayall) – 3:19
32. "Cheatin' Woman" (Mayall) – 2:03
33. "Nowhere To Turn" (Mayall) – 1:42
34. "I'm your witchdoctor" (Mayall) – 2:10
35. "On Top of The World (stereo mix)" (Mayall) – 2:34
36. "Key To Love" (Mayall) – 2:02
37. On Top of The World" (Mayall) – 2:34
38. "They Call It Stormy Monday" (T-Bone Walker) – 4:35
39. "Intro Into Maudie" (John Lee Hooker, Mayall) – 2:27
40. "It Hurts To Be In Love" (Dixon, Toombs) – 3:22
41. "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" (Myles) – 6:44
42. "Bye Bye Bird" (Williamson, Dixon) – 3:51
43. "Hoochie Coochie Man" (Dixon) – 3:53
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