Blues Round-up: May 2015

Henry Yates on new releases from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Dan Patlansky, Jared James Nichols, Larry Garner & Michael Van Merwyk and Eric Sardinas & Big Motor

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John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers: Live in 1967

In the age of the Deluxe Edition bonus disc, just when you thought every barrel had been scraped and vault rifled, this happens. Thirteen never-before-heard live tracks, taped by a Dutch bootlegger across London’s clubland in 1967, from the holy-grail Bluesbreakers line-up of Mayall, Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood that lasted just three months.

Engineer Eric Corne has pre-empted criticism by admitting the exhumed reel-to-reel source recording was “very rough”. He ain’t kidding, but even this muffled pea-souper of a mix cannot suffocate a band plainly on fire, and particularly the performance of 20-year-old Peter Green, majestic from the opening swoop of All Your Love.

As the musician who has fallen furthest in the half-century interim, it’s an incredible thing to hear him sting it on Looking Back and The Stumble, while the evolution of his guitar solo from languid to molten on so many roads is drop-to-your-knees good. Sunken treasure doesn’t get much better. (810)/o:p

Dan Patlansky: Dear Silence Thieves

Trumpeted as this year’s zero-to-hero, the Jo’burg thirty-something justifies the hype with his seventh album. Dear Silence Thieves is blues-tinged, but not slavishly so, with funky opener Backbite stomping like Lenny Kravitz in stack heels, Fetch Your Spade channelling Rage Against The Machine and Taking Changes coming on like Pride & Joy on illegal steroids. (810)

Henry Yates

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.