This was the last of the six albums John Mayall originally made for Blue Thumb/ABC Records between 1975 and 1978, about which he has said, "ABC released six of my albums as a tax write-off. A week after they were released you couldn't find them in any store." It's a live album on which Mayall fronts a quartet consisting of guitarist James Quill Smith (who sings lead on several songs), bassist Steve Thompson, and drummer Soko Richardson. The approach is rock-oriented, and the set list includes such Bluesbreakers favorites as Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm," and Freddie King's "Hideaway" (taken at a frantic tempo), along with the usual complement of generic Mayall originals, among them, a remake of "The Bear," from Blues From Laurel Canyon.
The Godfater of British Blues" features contributions from Mayall, his family, fellow musicians, colleagues, and friends in interviews and performances. Rare archive film from all periods of his life marks his achievements and some of the events that formed them. "The Turning Point" is the earliest rockumentary of Mayall and his musicians filmed in their homes, dressing rooms, motorways, airports, clubs, concert halls, and at festivals. In 1969, Mayall was changing the emphasis of his band away from the "electric circus" of lead guitar and drums to a more gentler approach without drums and acoustic guitar, flutes, and saxophones.
In August 2004 the NBF welcomed some British blues legends: that lineup of BBA was Long John Baldry on vocals; guitarists Kim Simmonds, Tom McGuinness and Peter Green (also on harmonica); Bob Hall on piano; bassist Gary Fletcher; saxophonist Steve Beighton, and Colin Allen on drums.
John Mayall has been playing blues literally for my entire lifetime and at 64 years old proves that he's still among the best. On this CD, Mayall displays the many blues attitudes of which he is capable. Lately, many of his songs decry urban decay and violence. He continues here in that vein with the hard-driving Dead City and the old Eddie Harris R&B song, How Can You Live Like That. Stone Cold Deal is a shuffle driven by saxophone, organ and drums. Its infectuous rhythm will have you dancing and its incisive lyrics will have you thinking. My other favorites are the title cut on which Mayall's prowess on the piano is showcased, One In A Million which is a rocking paean to his beloved mother, and I Don't Mind, a song in the rollicking piano-driven Southern style for which Mayall is justly famous. There isn't anything I really dislike on the album though It Ain't Safe and Some Other Day seem out of place and Trenches, though lyrically gripping, is musically weak. If you are a blues fan, you are sure to like Blues For the Lost Days, another strong effort from master bluesman John Mayall.