Sunday, June 22, 2014

John Mayall '65: Life Before E.C.

JOHN MAYALL AND THE BLUESBREAKERS-"Crocodile Walk"/"Blues City Shakedown" U.K. Decca F 12120 1965

John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers second 45 "Crocodile Walk" was released in April 1965, a live version was unleashed on the public the previous month on Mayall's debut LP " John Mayall Plays John Mayall: Live At Klook's Kleek" (Decca LK 4680).

At this point The Bluesbreakers ever changing line-up consisted of Mayall on leads vocals, harmonica and keyboards, Roger Dean on guitar, John McVie on bass and Hughie Flint on drums.

"Crocodile Walk" is best described as being from that brief Mayall/Bluebreakers "Flamingo/Klook's Kleek" mod/jazz period.  I write this because his material was still jazzier and akin to that of fellow artists Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds, Zoot Money etc and had not yet gone full on Chicago blues yet. It has some groovy but simplistic organ and subtle harp blowing and a great bluesy solo from Dean.  Mayall's voice  sounds a bit strained but it's a great tune regardless.  My fave of both sides however is the B-side. the  harmonica lead instrumental "Blues City Shakedown".  The melody/riff is incredibly infectious and is a serious ear worm for those who've never heard it!!

"Crocodile Walk" has been reissued on a Deram/Decca CD compilation of some of Mayall's 60's sides titled "Thru The Years" as well as on a compilation "As It All Began: The Best Of John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers". "Blues City Shakedown" is on  "As It All Began: The Best Of..." and the even more recommended collection "Looking Back", a CD reissue of an amazing 1969 compilation album of Mayall material '64-'67.

Hear "Crocodile Walk":

Hear "Blues City Shakedown":

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