Bare Wires was the fourth and final studio album of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, released in June 1968. It was (arguably) the Bluesbreakers at their absolute best, their most creative, and their most original. But it was also a step away from the pure blues that had defined Mayall’s previous work, with elements of jazz and psychedelia very much in evidence. It was recorded by a new line up: Dick Heckstall-Smith, Jon Hiseman and Tony Reeves all sharing the same jazz background and this really comes through. But of course Mayall and Mick Taylor keep (at least one foot) firmly in the blues! It is perhaps not as well-known today as ‘Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton’ (the Beano album), which is a shame, but this is an outstanding album, and one that is very much worth checking out!
John Mayall continually changed Bluesbreakers’ personnel throughout the 1960s, but the musicians who recorded Bare Wires started to assemble in mid-1967, with Chris Mercer (tenor saxophone), Mick Taylor (guitar) and Dick Heckstall-Smith (tenor and soprano saxophones) all signing up between May and August 1967. These were joined by Tony Reeves (bass) and Jon Hiseman (drums) in early 1968. Some of these musicians had worked together in previous projects: Reeves, Hiseman and Heckstall-Smith had played with the New Jazz Orchestra, with Reeves and Hiseman appearing on the Western Reunion London 1965 album, whilst Hiseman and Heckstall-Smith had previously played with Graham Bond.
There are supergroups and there are SUPERgroups. And Dirty Mac are about as super as they come! A four piece taking one member each of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Cream and the Jimi Hendrix experience… and for one night in late 1968 only. This recording has to be one of the highlights of recorded music of the last century. Check it out… Yer Blues by the Dirty Mac
Seasick Steve shows us the blues are still alive today. Playing his battered three-string guitar he calls trance-wonder guitar, he demonstrates that the blues is about feeling rather than pentatonic noodling. Slide boogie playing at it’s most authentic.
Jimi Hendrix, in a rare appearance with a twelve string guitar… and what a superb blues performance. Hendrix plays one of his standards, Hear My Train a Comin’ for a film crew, and in an acoustic finger-picking country blues style. And what a treat.
Peter Green started his own band, Fleetwood Mac, after serving his blues-rock apprenticeship in John Mayalls Bluesbreakers; his haunting and desperately sad blues guitar style was merely a reflection of his own troubled personality, and by 1970 he had left the band. This short period in the bands history is often referred to as Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, but it is a period of superb blues music, phenominal guitar playing, and a world away from the music that was to follow on.
John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers was the finishing school for British blues rock guitarists. They worked hard touring their version of the blues extensively in the UK and worldwide, gaining great acclaim in the process, but rarely the mass attention that many of these names would be attracting a year after leaving the band. But this was of course the aim; to play pure blues, for blues’ sake. This is the best decade of the Bluesbreakers, and this compilation contains some of the best musicianship of the period. Unless you have the original albums, this compilation is a must
Black Merda are one of those bands that don’t fit neatly into any bag… they are soul, but not only soul. They are blues, but not only blues. They are rock, but not only rock. Black Merda mixed up a whole lot of what was going on in late sixties and early seventies America; folk, funk, blues-rock, psychedelia, with a heavy dose of social reality. And the result is electrifying. Check it!
From one supergroup to the next; with bassist Jack Bruce as the common link. This great blues rock performance from 1969 features, amongst others, the legendary Chicago bluesman, Buddy Guy on guitar, with Jack Bruce (Graham Bond Organistaion, Cream) on bass, Buddy Miles on Drums and Dick Heckstall-Smith (John Mayall’s bluesbreakers, Colosseum) on sax.
What a track! Sit back and enjoy this funky late sixties blues jam. Fantastic musicianship, and a superb vocal performance from Buddy Guy. The entire show (also featuring Eric Clapton, and others) is available now on DVD.
There are not many bands that can lay claim to have invented a genre, but Cream are one such band. All had served British blues apprenticeships: Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker with the Graham Bond Organisation, and Eric Clapton with the Yardbirds and John Mayalls Bluesbreakers. And then they got together to form Cream. A blues rock supergroup that would create some of the finest music of the 1960s.
Jimi Hendrix is synonymous with blues rock. Whilst his psychedelic rock guitar playing is well known, his more subtle blues work often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. But Blues aims to put this right!
Jimi played a lot of blues, both live and on record. Hendrix originals, such as Red House and Voodoo Chile graced his albums; but he also performed numerous covers live and in the studio. This collection features a range of tracks, played in different blues styles. There are some outstanding takes here – blues rock guitar playing at its best.