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Album Review

When Island Records released Chicago Line in 1988, they were picking up an existing recording for U.S. distribution. A Sense Of Place, on the other hand, represents John Mayall's full-fledged return to major-label record-making, with all the good and bad things that implies, from a high-profile producer, R.S. Field, to the introduction of such cover material as Wilbert Harrison's "Let's Work Together" and J.J. Cale's "Sensitive Kind." Mayall's Bluesbreakers seem to have been fragmenting at this point — guitarist Walter Trout is gone, bassist Bobby Haynes is replaced on most tracks by Freebo, a veteran who worked for years with Bonnie Raitt, and Sonny Landreth is now credited as "guest slide guitarist." That leaves Coco Montoya and Joe Yuele from the unit Mayall has led since the mid-'80s, plus session aces like Tim Drummond. Field uses a spare production style, light on atmosphere and heavy, as is the current fashion, on unusual percussion. This makes for an identifiable sound, to be sure, but you can't help thinking that it isn't what the Bluesbreakers sound like on a good night in a small club. The result, as intended, was Mayall's first chart appearance in 15 years, although as a commercial comeback, the record ultimately failed.

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....
Full Bio
A Sense of Place, John Mayall
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