Artist: John Mayall
Album: Find A Way To Care
Label: Forty Below
Release Date: 09/04/2015
Well, John Mayall has done it to me again. About ten seconds into the first song, “Mother In Law Blues,” he had me drumming my fingers and tapping my toes. And when I heard the begining of Muddy Waters’ “Long Distance Call,” I had to get my harmonica to play along. I started listening to the blues because of Mayall’s early Bluesbreakers albums. Yes, Eric Clapton led me to John Mayall and Mayall led me to all of the great US blues artists. Funny how things sometimes happen.
I don’t think Mayall would mind my playing along because on this album he plays mostly keyboards. Producer/engineer Eric Corne said he wanted to feature Mayall on keyboards because he is one of the most lyrical, economical and underrated keyboardists around. Of course, he throws in some subtle harmonica, especially on “Ropes And Chains.” I left that one all to him, but I did go back to the finger drumming.
Muddy Waters isn’t the only cover on the album. Mayall added six covers to his six new songs. Mayall has said that he feels he owes it to his fans to come up with fresh interpretations of the blues so he always has some covers on his albums. God, I can still hear his cover of Sonny Landreth’s “Congo Square.” Actually, that is what got me into Landreth’s music. And the circle goes round and round.
Mayall has had a really great year, releasing his first studio album in five years as well as a never-before-heard live performance by the Bluesbreakers. It seems singing with Forty Below Records has been good for him. He is back and I love it.
—Mark J. Smith