REVIEW: John Mayall – Blues From Laurel Canyon – book review

REVIEW: John Mayall – Blues From Laurel Canyon – book review

Quintessential British blues pioneer John Mayall delves into his memory banks for this interesting autobiography written in cooperation with experienced author Joel McIver. Released via Omnibus Press 26th September this is set to appeal to lovers of the bluesman’s work.

Having played out the majority of his long life in the limelight on the world’s stages Mayall delivers this warts ‘n’ all tale, humbly coming across as a formidable home grown talent recruiting unknown musicians at the time in the guise of Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and Mick Taylor, to his later years fighting off cancer enabling him to continue his tour de force as the Godfather of British Blues.

The book starts with an introduction to his paternal and close knit family, extracting hazy memories of his grandad, plus the rural idyllic life he and his family lead living in the countryside. As life has its ups and downs so it was with his grandparents who went on to have extramarital affairs, which saw them sleep in separate bedrooms in their house making things slightly awkward when going on family holidays. Families, don’t you just love them!

Saying all of this Mayalls father landed into a fairly sizeable inheritance when his grandmother died leaving considerable parts of Moseley and Saddleworth in Manchester. Mayall admits to living a life of luxury around Persian cats, bags of penny sweets and Tizer. Everything is written to perfection here, like you’re sat on a rug infront of a roasting fire whilst listening to Mayall tell you his life story in a cosy setting.

This fortune no doubt encouraged Mayall to make something from his own life encouraging a lifelong association with The Blues. From supporting a dynamite band called Blues Incorporated with Ginger Baker taking the place of Charlie Watts on the drum stool, he spent time chatting to band leader Alexis Korner who divulged he was taking a trip to London to perform at the legendary Flamingo, which was Georgie Fames residency at the time. Mayall explains that he moved permanently to London working in a advertising company which lead to further fortunes.

Mayalls band at the time soon changed from Blues Corporated becoming The Bluesbreakers, and the rest they often say is history. There are further enchanting tales of how he saw the first fruits of Fleetwood Mac in the UK, to moving over the waters to U.S.A. selling out shows to excited audiences to the moment he stopped smoking ‘February 9th, 2pm to be exact’ and finally when he split his kneecap after trying to perform a daredevil jump into a swimming pool. All in all a quite energetic, exuberant book from a man reaching 3 figures, with hundreds of richly detailed moments this document of one of the all-time great musicians is worthy of your attention.

The book will be available from the Omnibus website. John Mayall can be found via his own website.