Announcing: Vinyl Release Of The Bluesbreakers "Live In 1967 Volume 2"
By David Fricke
In July 1967, the young British blues guitarist Peter Green left a good job and rising profile as Eric Clapton's replacement in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers to start his own band. Green took Mayall's drummer, Mick Fleetwood, with him and eventually the bassist, John McVie, too, naming the group after the rhythm section: Fleetwood Mac. Mayall responded as he did after Clapton split to start Cream, hiring British guitar's Next Big Thing, teenager and future Rolling Stone Mick Taylor.
At some point in early '67, probably after the February release of A Hard Road, Green's only studio LP with the Bluesbreakers, a Mayall fan with a reel-to-reel tape machine and good documentary sense, Tom Huissen, caught Mayall's band in regular haunts such as London's Marquee Club, the Ram Jam Club and Klook's Kleek. In 2015, Mayall issued 13 tracks from those tapes as Live in 1967, a rough but vibrant memoir of two British blues titans, Mayall and Green, at their nightly work.
Live in 1967 – Volume Two (Forty Below) is a welcome second helping from Huissen's reels, another baker's dozen restored as much as the field-recording fidelity allowed. The material is British-blues-boom standards – "Stormy Monday," "Sweet Little Angel," Otis Rush's "Double Trouble" – salted with Mayall originals and surprises like "Ridin' on the L&N," a Lionel Hampton number Mayall cut on a rare studio EP with Paul Butterfield. It's easy to hear why Green wanted to hijack the rhythm section – and what Mayall saw in Green himself. The eight minutes of "So Many Roads" are handed over almost entirely to the guitarist, who slices the air with the blazing aplomb of an imminent legend.