Mayall's first post-Bluesbreakers album saw the man returning to his roots after the jazz/blues fusion that was Bare Wires. Blues from Laurel Canyon is a blues album, through and through. Testimony to this is the fact that there's a guitar solo only 50 seconds into the opening track…
"Blues from Laurel Canyon is a 1968 album by John Mayall, featuring British blues music. It was his first album after the breakup of his band the Bluesbreakers on 14 July 1968. It was also his last album with Decca before moving to Polydor. "
This is the third in a series of posthumous albums of previously unreleased recordings by Randy California and Spirit, drawn from California's archives and assembled by Mick Skidmore. As Skidmore explains in his detailed liner notes, California put together an album called Blues From the Soul around 1995, and even copyrighted its contents; but later opted to use some of the material on the final album he released with Spirit, California Blues, prior to his accidental death by drowning in January 1997. Other tracks from the proposed album were culled for the first posthumous release, Cosmic Smile. Skidmore has included all 13 of the songs California had intended to use on his version of Blues From the Soul, though he has substituted alternate takes or live recordings of tracks already issued. Of course, the album also has been vastly expanded to include 35 selections for a running time of two-and-a-half hours. But the basic concept remains the same, and that is to present a collection of folk and blues recordings.
Our selection here from the legendary Vocalion label spans the period from 1926 to 1940, the year before the United States went to war. Though this includes the period of the Great Depression, significant numbers of blues records were sold and Vocalion showcased a piano-based style the music business dubbed urban blues , distinguishing it from the Mississippi Delta country blues . With gems from the likes of Leroy Carr, Robert Johnson and Memphis Minnie, there s no doubt the classic Vocalion repertoire on this 2 disc set was, and still is, the cream of the blues crop.