Album no. 73/1001
John Mayall on the keys, and Clapton on guitar. Chances are this will be bluesey as hell.
John Mayall and the Blues Breakers had made one album before this, but this one really showcases Clapton on the guitar. The songs are mostly traditional blues arrangements with plenty of space for solos. If you don’t like guitar and/or drum solos, this is probably not the album for you.
Have you listened to this album before?
CL: … Do I look like the sort of person who would listen to a band called the ‘Blues Breakers’? I’ll just let that hang there for a moment for everyone.
NK: I haven’t heard this, but I would definitely listen to a band called the ‘Blues Breakers’, and I am excited to do exactly that.
CL: Ohhh. Even just the first 10 seconds has given me a pretty good idea of what this album will be about. OH GOD. STOP. I lasted until track 6, then the 4 hour drum solo started and I had to stop. I needed a rest to reassess my position.
NK: Man, that’s harsh. My favourite is ‘Hideaway’, which is 3 minutes of blues jamming, no pesky lyrics getting in the way. Eric’s guitar sounds really good!
CL: My position is thus: I VIOLENTLY DISLIKED THIS. THERE IS NO STANDOUT. If I had to choose one I suppose it would have to be ‘Another Man’, just because it only goes for a minute and a half, there isn’t much singing or noodling about on the guitar – it’s mostly just a harmonica that sounds like it’s been swallowed and recorded by sticking a microphone in front of some bloke’s throat. And a bit of clapping. Although, as per usual, everyone keeps talking about a “county farm”. What’s the big deal with farms?
NK: I also really like ‘What’d I say’ (a Ray Charles cover) and ‘Steppin’ Out’, another instrumental. I preferred the jamming to the ‘proper’ songs by a fair margin.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
CL: Maybe when one is on one’s way to a county farm? There would be literally no other time to listen to this – it’s awful.
NK: I listened to this in my headphones while I was gardening. I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would. The guitar playing is really fun, and I didn’t even mind the drum solos, but the songs were not very exciting. Of the songs with words I think the Ray Charles number was far and away the best. I bet they would have been good live though.
CL: THAT’S RIGHT. THE SONGS WERE NOT VERY EXCITING.
Why has this album been included on the list?
CL: It’s got everything. Long, inane drum solos. Horrible organ. It’s basically a shopping list of everything terrible in music. No more for me thank you, I’m full.
NK: It’s got to be Eric’s guitar. We’ve started to get towards stuff like this with Muddy Waters, BB King, even bits and pieces of Booker T and the MGs, but Clapton is pushing it to another level here. Just the space left for solos is unusual; at least two songs have drum solos that go for over a minute. Definitely haven’t bumped into that before.
Will you be listening again?
CL: Heavens no.
NK: Maybe, but I think I’m more likely to listen to some more of Clapton’s early stuff rather than just this again.