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Album Review

John Mayall's stature in the world of blues-rock cannot be understated, as his Bluesbreakers outfit was the launching pad for such renowned players as Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, and Peter Green. And while there are no musicians as recognizable as Clapton on the Bluesbreakers' 2005 release, Road Dogs, Mayall (who handles vocals, piano, harmonica, guitar, and synthesizer duties) has assembled a worthy supporting cast — Joe Yuele (drums), Buddy Whittington (guitar), Hank Van Sickle (bass) and Tom Canning (organ/piano). While the production may be a bit "cleaner" than it was on his classic-'60s era work, Road Dogs should definitely please fans of modern day blues-rock. As evidenced by the solo on "So Glad," Whittington has obviously studied his Clapton, while Mayall and co. have no problem cooking up a bluesy swamp stomp on the title track. Elsewhere, "To Heal the Pain" puts forth the usual "love is the answer" message — and while it's an amiable message, others have similarly regurgitated it countless times over the years. Of course, Road Dogs is not the groundbreaking blues-rock of 1966's Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton (aka "The Beano Album"), but it shows that the veteran bluesman is still rockin' along at the age of 71. And most importantly, Mayall is remaining true to the style he helped popularize decades ago.


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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