A YEAR IN MUSIC: 1990
Review by: Roland Bruynesteyn
John Mayall is most famous for picking great musicians, including more than half of Cream and Fleetwood Mac, as members of his Bluesbreakers, that would go on to have successful solo careers. But he’s a competent singer (somewhat nasally sounding however) and a good blues pianist and harmonica player himself as well. And he is a decent composer and arranger and he has a great talent for picking songs to cover. What’s not to like? During the early nineties he had a sort of renaissance, like many of the 60’s greats and this one sort of started it commercially. The next three albums for the Silvertone label would expand on this. This latest incarnation of the Bluesbreakers consisted of Coco Montoya on guitar, Freebo on bass (only on 3 out of 11 songs however, on 8 tracks the bass is played by ‘additional musician’ Bobbie Haynes) and Joe Yuele on drums, with Sonny Landreth guesting on slide.
It all comes together nicely on Sensitive kind (J.J. Cale cover), where Coco and Sonny play together great, with Sonny’s slide sounding like a dobro some of the time. John should have played acoustic piano, but it’s OK as it is. Let’s work together is better known as Let’s stick together, and here it gets a duo treatment: just John singing, playing piano and blowing that harmonica, with Sonny providing tasteful slide accompaniment.
In a way this is generic blues, with blues being a rather generic genre of itself already. Do not look for innovation here. But everything is not just performed professionally, they play enthusiastically, with gusto. And the variety of styles is quite nice.