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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Talk About That - John Mayall (January 2017)

Talk About That - John Mayall
Forty Below Records
Produced by John Mayall and Eric Corne 
Released 27th January 2017

A Selection of Tracks Featured on Talk About That

John Mayall is 83 years old and he is still out playing the Blues! He also manages roughly 100 live shows a year and between 1965-2017 he has consistently released albums both live and studio. His latest Talk About That arrived in January this year and whilst vocally it's a little rough in places his guitar work is as pristine and stellar as it ever was.

Guesting on a couple of tracks is Joe Walsh (The Devil Must Be Laughing and Cards On The Table). "It has been a bucket-list item since 1970 to play with John Mayall," states Walsh. "John had a run of GREAT British guitarists (one after another) with his 'Bluesbreakers' albums, and that's how many of us in the States became aware of them. Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor - I studied them all for hours and became a much better guitarist as a result. The albums were legendary stuff and I have wanted to work with John for years and years, wondering what it would be like." Walsh would find out as he "Finally got the chance - and he was the complete gentleman and fine, fine musician I had always hoped he would be. When you meet a hero who helped shape your career – it's a wonderful feeling to find they're even cooler than you always thought they were." 

The album contains eight original songs and three choice covers: It's Hard Going Up (Memphis Soul Music Songwriter Bettye Crutcher), Goin' Away Baby (by the Blues Legend Jimmie Rogers) and Don't Deny Me (by Rock Songwriter Jerrie Lynn Williams). A three piece horn section hads some extra weight to songs like Don't Deny Me and Gimmie Some Of That Gumbo.

The album was produced by John Mayall (who also designed the sleeve - as he always does) and Forty Below Records Preseident Eric Corne.

In an interview in the latest UNCUT he spoke about his process of recording: "It's a fast process. You write the song, run it by the guys, we record. If we make an album, we're only in there three days. We all know what we're doing and if we like the material, then usually it's all done in the first take. The music has to have a reality to it, and if you're working with the guys you're familiar with, then we create the music - it's just like if you do a gig."

On playing shows with The Bluesbreakers back in the 1960's he reflected, "There was a lot of driving. If it was within reach we'd play it. You'd do a Friday night gig at The Flamingo, a Saturday early show, a Saturday late-night show. We'd rack up eight or nine shows a week. It was a lot of hard work, mostly just to get in the van and drive to where we're playing. But the reward comes once you get onstage and start playing. That's still the case."

He's still got that sense of excitement at 83 years old, when most would be putting their feet up at the Old Folks home. For Mayall there's great reward in the studio and on the stage. It's so great to hear him still creating a work of art so late in his life.

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