John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers / John Mayall

Blues from Laurel Canyon

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Mayall's first post-Bluesbreakers album saw the man returning to his roots after the jazz/blues fusion that was Bare Wires. Blues from Laurel Canyon is a blues album, through and through. Testimony to this is the fact that there's a guitar solo only 50 seconds into the opening track. Indeed, Mayall dispersed the entire brass section for Blues from Laurel Canyon, and instead chose the solid but relatively limited backing of Mick Taylor (guitar), Colin Allen (drums), and Stephen Thompson (bass). Instantly, it is apparent that John Mayall hasn't lost his touch with the blues. "Vacation," the album's opener, reminds one exactly why this artist is so celebrated for his songwriting ability. The staggering Mick Taylor (here still in his teens) truly proves his worth as a blues guitarist, while Steve Thompson (also in his late teens) works superbly with one of the genre's most interesting drummers, Colin Allen. Blues from Laurel Canyon is as unerring as Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, and equally as musically interesting. Not only is this one of the finest John Mayall albums, it is also a highlight in the blues genus.

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