Tuesday, September 27, 2005

John Mayall with Eric Clapton and the Blues Breakers: All My Love/Hideaway (London 45-LON-20024)

Let me start this by saying that I am not a huge fan of Eric Clapton and I don't think everything he did or does is worthy of "God" status. Especially not his version of "Stone Free" on some Jimi Hendrix tribute from years ago. Nor do I need to hear "Wonderful Tonight" ever again, let alone for the 60,000th time.

That said, let us turn back the clock to 1966 for this little piece in which Clapton was rippin' solos for John Mayall's Blues Breakers. I'm not here to talk about the impact Clapton or Mayal had on British blues of this period, as I'm not qualified to do so. Nor, quite frankly, could I care less. What I am here to tell you is that this is one heckuva sizzlin' two-sider with Clapton's guitar work the whole show. Both songs, by the way, are taken from the album "John Mayal with Eric Clapton and The Blues Breakers," but I'm reviewing this as a single.

"All Your Love" is the A-side and it starts off on a somewhat slow mode before kicking into a tasty blues shuffle, then shifting back to the slow mode for the finale. Throughout this piece, Clapton simply gets out there and wails with that guitar. He's clearly on fire here and the band, which includes Mayal on organ and vocals and Jack Bruce on bass, gives him a raucous background in which to rip.

But if you thought Clapton was great on "All My Love," flip the record over for the Blues Breakers' version of Freddy King's "Hideaway" and he's smokin' on that, too! While I don't necessarily think this version is better than Freddy King's, it's definitely rockin' in its own right. This time, there's no vocals, it's all just pure raw-edged guitar and it's all Clapton
roarin' away.

Personally, I don't have a thing against so-called "Classic Rock" because when you think about it, it's all classic rock. I just get tired of the same way overplayed stuff. It's like you could live 20 lifetimes without ever having to hear "Layla" again. But records like this remind us that there's a reason people like Clapton became stars. And when they're this good, that can't be faulted.

Clapton and Bruce left that year and formed Cream, and you know what happened next. Mayal, meanwhile, just kept going on with other musicians, including Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, the future germ of Fleetwood Mac among them. (NOTE: If any of my history is wrong, please leave a comment or two.)


Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite singles, and one of the perfect moments of '60s blues-turning-into-rock.

It's worth noting that the mix of "Hideaway" is different on the single and on the album. The single cuts out Mayall's organ almost entirely and puts Clapton solely in the spotlight. It's a radio mix, for certain, designed to rock hard on an AM radio with a midrange 4" speaker. And it sure does work!

War story time: I bought this single in the bargain bin at a Sears store (?!) around 1968. Obviously, it had languished in some record store's bins (though I never saw it in one) until the owner decided it was unsaleable. I still count that as one of the luckiest moments of my feckless youth.

Anonymous said...

It's not that the single is a "different" version; it's the mono LP version.

QuadForever said...

There were two singles issued from the album, and "Parchman Farm"/"Key to Love" was the first one. But as you said, this second one's a killer and keeper, distills the greatness not only of Clapton when he was 'on' but Mayall when surrounded by ace musicians who fell into his way of doing things. It's a real gem. Worthy of note that the single was released in the USA sometime in early 1967. Also, I've never seen a blue label commercial copy. Mine is a promo, and the DJ pressing is all you seem to see anywhere these days.