John Mayall & The Blues Breakers – Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton (1966): Review


Produced by Mike Vernon
Label – Decca

When Eric Clapton left The Yardbirds in 1965, due to their continuing tendency to a commercial pop sound, he found solace with blues obsessive John Mayall. Their respect for each others individual skills, and a healthy disdain for current fashions led to the formation of a four piece that would be the touch paper that ignited a new scene that revived American blues music and introduced a plethora of top musicians for years to come. “Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton” is a seminal recording, essential in that to many audiences it was both innovative and fresh. It highlighted instrumental technique, with no apology for the raw purism of the source material they borrowed from, and little care for visual imagery. Mayall’s alchemist skills in coaxing the best from himself, Clapton, bass player John McVie and drummer Hughie Flint, for a definitive fusion of rock propelled blues opened fellow musicians and fans to infinite possibilities. Clapton’s heroics preceded him, but this recording encapsulates his distillation of the blues through a vintage Les Paul and an overdriven Marshall amplifier. For lovers of guitar ingenuity, dexterity and virtuosity it’s undoubtedly a revelatory listen. For those inspired by compositional creativity and arrangement craft, it’s a decent album of edgy, electrically charged covers, and less than exhilarating original songs.

As an imperfect introduction to the birth of the British blues, as a playful acknowledgement of past masters, as a stepping stone for Eric Clapton’s unstoppable rise, it’s relatively interesting. As a representation of a classic album, it is, sadly, mildly overrated.


Track Rating
1 – All Your Love (7)
2 – Hideaway (7)
3 – Little Girl (6)
4 – Another Man (6)
5 – Double Crossing Time (7)
6 – What’d I Say (7)
7 – Key To Love (7)
8 – Parchman Farm (7)
9 – Have You Heard (6)
10 – Ramblin’ On My Mind (6)
11 – Steppin’ Out (7)
12 – It Ain’t Right (7)

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