John Mayall and Friends: Along for the Ride

Dec 5, 2001 at 12:00 am

This just in from the father of the British blues invasion: Sometimes age and experience can come in handy, especially when the blues are concerned. Well-earned respect doesn’t hurt either.

John Mayall is widely acknowledged as the man who ignited the blues fire in England oh so many decades ago. Now, many years later, his relentless dedication to the blues has earned him the kind of stripes that entitle him to produce an album like this, featuring a cross-generational supporting cast of some of the best and strongest names in the business. It takes respect and love to be able to call in the likes of Otis Rush, Billy Gibbons, Billy Preston, Jeff Healey, Gary Moore and Jonny Lang to perform on one CD under your name.

What makes this effort so nice is that, despite all the cooks banging pots in the kitchen, the final taste resulting from the collaborative efforts still bears the distinctive mark of John Mayall. The added spices thrown in merely juice up the meal. What that says is that the egos were left at the door and replaced by a mutual desire to team up and produce a solid piece of work honoring one of the acknowledged greats. More evidence of respect.

Mayall fans will appreciate the sound and feel that they have come to expect over the years. New listeners? Pay attention and take notes.

Keith A. Owens is a Detroit-based freelance writer and musician. E-mail him at [email protected].