One of my friends on the east coast was a die-hard blues performer/fan. He introduced me to John Mayall. The first Mayall Lp I bought was Bare Wires, then Alone (a solo lp in which he plays everything). At the time I wasn’t what one would call a fan though. Blues was too adult for me. I was more California harmonies or psychedelic pop than serious British blues.
I now have as either stand-alone or mp3: The Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton; A Hard Road; The Blues Alone; Crusade; Bare Wires; Blues From Laurel Canyon; Blues for the Lost Days; Turning Point; Jazz Blues Fusion; 70th Birthday Concert.
Top-40 was not his aim even though the Blues Breakers did feature, at various points Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Mick Taylor. Although his blues roots ground all his recordings he experimented with where things could go – Hard Road is rock blues; Alone – traditional; Bare Wires added horns for a more soul sound; Turning Point: acoustic & jazzy. After that I didn’t really follow his career. Some of these I had when they were first released, others were added more recently as I filled in blanks in my collection. Clapton fans should have his work with Mayall.
The most recent addition was the 2003 2 cd set: 70th Birthday Concert where he reunites with Eric Clapton, Chris Barber & Mick Taylor along with the then current Bluesbreakers for a great set of old & new material. His voice is in good shape & they all play like wise teenagers 🙂 He’s a survivor & is still performing & recording.
“Did you know Donaldson or Hanson?”
“Not well. They were older bad boys. I mainly hung out with the guys in the chess club. Not exactly a bunch of daredevil trouble makers. You?”
“I didn’t hang out. School and home to do school work. We weren’t encourage to hang out.”
I realized that whatever sort of teenage life Vasili had it was so different from mine that I had no idea what it was like.
“I suppose not. We grew up in a much more liberal climate than you did.”
“Right. Plus you knew who your father was. I had only my sisters & even that was limited by what the state did with us after our father defected. They didn’t directly punish us for what he did, but there were no positive consequences either.”
We were in the kitchen. The organized clutter wasn’t as omnipresent here.
“I think this was probably where my father spent a lot of his time when he was in the house & not in his shop.”
He opened one of the cabinet doors and there were rows of TVs. Vasili turned on switch and they all flickered to life. Each showed a different part of the house & yard.
“I figure he did this after the those guys assaulted him.”
“Wow! How did you find this?”
“Looking for a coffee mug.” Vasili laughed dryly. “I imagine he sat when I am sitting now and watched these when he wasn’t in the shop. There are vcr tapes going back years.”
“What? He kept surveillance tapes for the last how many years?”
“He reviewed them every day.” He took a book out of the table drawer. “He kept logs of what he saw & kept ones that he might need as evidence. There is only a handful of those.’
“Man he was paranoid as hell.”
“No, paranoia is fantasy. The RCMP actually had their eye on him. Besides after what happened to him he needed real physical evidence to protect himself.”