Wednesday, July 4, 2012

195 The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. Eric Clapton (with the Bluesbreakers)

Album: The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton
Artist: The Bluesbreakers
Genre: The Blues
Year: 1966


  1. All Your Love
  2. Hideaway
  3. Little Girl
  4. Another Man
  5. Double Crossing Time
  6. What'd I Say
  7. Key to Love
  8. Parchman Farm
  9. Have You Heard
  10. Ramblin' on My Mind
  11. Steppin' Out
  12. It Ain't Right

John Mayall is a giant in English Blues history. His band The Bluesbreakers has featured some of the biggest and best names in white blues- guitarists Mick Taylor (who later joined The Rolling Stones), Peter Green (who gave the world Fleetwood Mac along with fellow Bluesbreaker John McVie) and Eric Clapton who left to form Eric Clapton Incorporated which isn't a band it's a brand (and a way of life). Mayall gathered together some great names and got the most out of his talented bandmates. So why isn't his name better known? Primarily because he's not really all that great.

Don't get me wrong, I like the guy but you don't see him on any list of great vocalists, instrumentalists or songwriters mainly because he doesn't really belong there. His voice is average, the songs he wrote aren't really that inspiring and when he plays he's best as a sidemen to his band's more talented stars. Consequently the moments on the band's debut album that showcase Mayall aren't really all that interesting. Another Man is a fairly tedious and derivative blues stomp that features Mayall singing and accompanying himself on harmonica. His voice is deep and vaguely pleasant especially when compared to his efforts on Little Girl which showcases how limited his range is and how offputting his warbly tone becomes when he tries to sing a more difficult tune.

But there's a reason this album is on here and it's not Mayall it's the guy holding the guitar (and the Beano comic on the album cover). Clapton left The Yardbirds because he hated their attempts to move in a pop direction. He wanted to be a Blues Purist and plugged his guitar into Mayall's amp becuase he was all about the Blues.

Bluesbreakers proves that from an early age Clapton was a great blues player. His solos on the blues standards are fantastic and prove he could really play. Especially cheeky is his riffing during What I'd say in which he quotes Day Tripper, presumably a nod to the Yardbirds who were trying to become the Beatles. Bluesbreakers also includes Clapton's first attempts at lead vocals. Rambling on my Mind features his deep and resonant voice and while he doesn't have the confidence he'd show in later years he sounds a lot better than Mayall does.

Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton is a great album but should really be renamed Eric Clapton with the Bluesbreakers and would be even better if he was allowed more blues covers to showcase his guitar and voice on.

Highlight: Ramblin on my Mind
Lowlight: Another Man

Influenced by: The Blues
Influenced: White boy Blues

Favourite Amazon Customer Review: "I don't know where John Mayall ever got the idea that he could sing. It wasn't from me."

-Well that's ruled one person out. Anyone else prepared to step up and deny responsibility?

So is this Clapton's finest moment or Mayall's worst? Let me know below.

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