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John Mayall: Find A Way To Care

Still no turning point.

It’s never too late for a renaissance. John Mayall is now into his 80s, and the five-year gap before last year’s A Special Life had looked ominous – although he’d never stopped touring – but the sprightly album put paid to that and Find A Way To Care builds on the rejuvenated spirit.

Mayall has ventured beyond the usual suspects when looking for covers; Don Robey’s Mother In Law Blues, Lightning Hopkins’ Feel So Bad and Lee Baker’s I Want All My Money Back all offer fresh opportunities. Mayall is keeping his ear to the ground too; Matt Schofield’s War We Wage gets a simpler rearrangement but the message is never lost.

His band of seven years make their presence felt. Bassist Greg Rzab transforms The River’s Invitation with a fretless groove and guitarist Rocky Athas is developing a light but colourful style. Mayall’s own songs are self-reflective, particularly Ain’t No Guarantees and the title track. And while his voice increasingly betrays his age his Hammond and piano playing has lost none of its vigour.

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Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.