John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers / John Mayall

Bare Wires

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Bare Wires was the first Bluesbreakers album of new studio material since A Hard Road, released 16 months before. In that time, the band had turned over entirely, expanding to become a septet. Mayall's musical conception had also expanded -- the album began with a 23-minute "Bare Wires Suite," which included more jazz influences than usual and featured introspective lyrics. In retrospect, all of this is a bit indulgent, but at the time it helped Mayall out of what had come to seem a blues straitjacket (although he would eventually return to a strict blues approach). It isn't surprising that he dropped the "Bluesbreakers" name after this release. The album was Mayall's most successful ever in the U.K., hitting number three.

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