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In the Palace of the King

John Mayall

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Album Review

It's common knowledge that two of the most renowned blues guitarists of all time happened to share the same last name (no relation though): B.B. King and Albert King. But there was also another "King" of the blues, Freddie King, and while he doesn't seem to rake in the same amount of accolades as the other two players, blues buffs far and wide know Freddie was a force to be reckoned with. And one of his biggest admirers through the years has been John Mayall, whose band, the Bluesbreakers, has been covering Freddie King songs since their inception in the '60s. However, on his 56th album overall (!), Mayall offers an album's worth of songs that Freddie King had either written, inspired, or was "closely associated with," for 2007's In the Palace of the King. Stylistically similar to Mayall's last studio effort (2005's solid Road Dogs), Palace is full of tasty blues guitar throughout, with Buddy Whittington supplying the lion's share of the lead work, especially on such standouts as "Palace of the King." But one of the album's undisputed highlights is "Cannonball Shuffle," an instrumental track that features some fine soloing from Robben Ford (who also solely penned the tune). And for guitarists who are looking to jam along with the album, Mayall was kind enough to list what key each song is in (inside the CD booklet). In the Palace of the King is a much-deserved tribute to one of the blues' greatest yet oft-overlooked guitarists.

Biography

Born: 29 November 1933 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As the elder statesman of British blues, it is John Mayall's lot to be more renowned as a bandleader and mentor than as a performer in his own right. Throughout the '60s, his band, the Bluesbreakers, acted as a finishing school for the leading British blues-rock musicians of the era. Guitarists Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor joined his band in a remarkable succession in the mid-'60s, honing their chops with Mayall before going on to join Cream, Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones, respectively....
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