Cover of CD autographed by John Mayall in person when he played in Hong Kong
This one of the most
important Blues recording ever made. This recording
stands side by side with the Robert Johnson recordings as two of the most
influential Blues recording of all times. If acoustic Blues was never
the same after the Robert Johnson recordings, electric Blues was never
the same after Clapton finished his session with John Mayall.
John Mayall's Bluesbreaker with Eric Clapton was recorded in London in 1966. Electric guitar was never the same after this. When this was done, there were no overdive padels, no multi-effect guitar gear. What Clapton did was he plugged straight into and cranked up his Marshall 50 watt Bluesbreaker. Out came the overdrive sound from the overdriven tubes. The sound was simply out of this world. And Eric Clapton’s playing was also out of this world. Every single lick and every note he played was perfect. Right from the first note of the first track All Your Love till the final track It Ain’t Right, Eric was impeccable. His playing was so clean and perfect it was almost inhuman. Listen to the solos on Hideway, Double Crossing Time, Little Girl, Key To Love and you wonder how can anyone have such execution and precision. John Mayall was never a great vocalist and on this recording his singing was simply part of the background, you just kept on waiting for him to finish the verse so the guitar can come back to the front. Eric Clapton was at his peak when he recorded the John Mayall Bluesbreaker with Eric Clapton. If Eric Clapton never played another note after the recording, he would still be one of the greatest Blues guitar player ever.
I have nothing to say about the last 15 years about Eric Clapton. From The Cradle was so disappointing that it hurts to even associate the name of the CD with Eric Clapton. I just do not like one bit of Eric Clapton’s stuff in the last 15 years or so. When he came out of hibernation in 1974 and did 461 Ocean Boulevard, Backless, Slow Hand, the man was only a shadow of himself. But we should be grateful for what he had given us.
The Cream period was certainly a very creative period for Eric Clapton. Imagine three soloist playing in the same band and soloing at the same time. Cream was fantastic and was one of the first super groups. Apart from Tje Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream as a trio was unrivalled. But Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs was, to me, Eric Clapton at the zenith of his powers. The whole recording was so Bluesy, so full of sorrow, pain and suffering. The emotion and intensity was so strong you cannot but cringe when you listen to it. This was Eric Clapton at his best. Of course the recording was not another Bluesbreaker with Eric Clapton but you don’t have to be playing 12 bars to sing the Blues; just listen to Bell Bottom Blues, I'm Yours, Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad. One must not forget Duane Allman who made such a tremendous contribution to the session. It was Duane Allman who came up with the opening lick in Layla. Duane Allman died shortly in a motor cycle accident. If I were to chose the most important acoustic Blues recordings, I would choose Robert Johnson’s recording. For electric Blues, Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs will be one of them.