If Charles Darwin had been a blues obsessive, then he would probably have proclaimed that the evolution of the white man exposing the blues, and its legendary and unsung creators, to the worldwide audience of today, may have started with Alexis Korner; but it’s John Mayall who grasped the baton and ran the furthest with an unrivalled evangelical blues zeal. And he’s still running.
For it was with Mayall where the gene pool of now-legendary individual exponents of the blues was birthed and learned their trade. In many ways, he was a nursery for stars including Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, and the bottom end of Fleetwood Mac, and many more. In doing so, Mayall assumed the mantle of The Godfather of British Blues which he has worn lightly with supreme distinction as this gargantuan 35 CD box set reveals in big spades.
This forensically researched immersive box set not only includes newly remastered editions of his original Decca and Polydor albums, from his formative years as he broke the mold and shaped the blues boom era, there are also three CD singles; music from seven unreleased gigs; twenty-eight unreleased BBC tracks featuring Clapton, Green, and Taylor, plus a hardback book of rare photos and memorabilia, and more. In short, it’s another consummately constructed limited edition box set that Snapper/Madfish excels at.
More than this, it is an obsessively addictive artifact for any John Mayall/blues aficionado to invest in and will seemingly take half a lifetime to joyously play through in its entirety.
The First Generation
By Paul Davies