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John Mayall Says New Archival Bluesbreakers Album Brings Listener Back to 1960s London Club Scene

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Forty Below RecordsA second volume of rare archival live performances by a short-lived version of British blues legend John Mayall‘s band The Bluesbreakers that featured three founding members of Fleetwood Mac was released on CD earlier this month. Live in 1967 — Volume Two features 13 songs recorded in the spring of ’67 at various London venues.

The Bluesbreakers lineup at the shows featured Mayall, lead guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie. This version of the group only existed for three months and never recorded a studio album together.

While the recordings are quite raw-sounding, Mayall tells ABC Radio he feels that the tapes capture “the energy of the audience” and “the reaction to the musicians,” which gives the listener a sense of what “it was like in the London clubs during that period of time.”

Like the first volume of Live in 1967, which was released in April 2015, Volume Two includes a mix of original tunes and covers of blues classics. Interestingly, versions of three of the same songs appear on both albums, including T-Bone Walker‘s “Stormy Monday” and Otis Rush‘s “Double Trouble,” although as Mayall points out, “they’re so different from each other because of the improvisational aspect of it.”

The Live in 1967 recordings were made by a Dutch teenager named Tom Huissen, who sneaked a one-channel reel-to-reel tape recorder into the gigs. Mayall had known about the tapes for many years, but Huissen initially was reluctant to allow them to be released. The recordings finally were acquired in 2014, and John and his studio collaborator Eric Corne then went through them and chose the best tracks to prepare for the two releases.

“They’re very special, and I’m very pleased [that] Volume Two is now released,” Mayall tells ABC Radio. “It’s been a lot of fun going through those things — his historical tapes that were in pretty good condition, [and] we finally got them to see the light of day.” 

A vinyl version of Volume Two is scheduled for a June 3 release.

Shortly after the 1967 recordings were made, Green, Fleetwood and McVie left The Bluesbreakers to start Fleetwood Mac. Mayall has since played with various other Bluesbreakers lineups, and he now records and performs with his own solo band. The 82-year-old also recently was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. Check out the latest news on Mayall at JohnMayall.com.

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