John Mayall - vocals, harmonica, guitar, keys; Steve Thompson - bass; Soko Richardson - drums; James Quill Smith- guitar
The British blues-rock scene of the 1960s and '70s certainly has a lot to thank John Mayall for. He remains the godfather of that movement and provided the breeding ground for some of the biggest artists ever to emerge from the U.K., including Eric Clapton, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Jack Bruce, Aynsley Dunbar, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Andy Fraser (of Free), John Almond, Jon Mark, and many others.
Had it not been for John Mayall, the Rolling Stones would never have had its blues-bedrock, and Cream and Fleetwood Mac may never have formed. Ironically, his legacy has been more of a band leader and mentor than as a blues artist himself. Yet, Mayall's influence and innovative British approach to an art form that was inherently American remains unchallenged.
This recording was made in 1977, while Mayall was still recording for Polydor Records, a label that supported his art for years despite the fact that Mayall was never a big commercial act. Recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour at New York's legendary Bottom Line venue, the show features a mix of Mayall originals and classic blues compositions, such as Freddy King's "Hideaway" and Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm." He closes the show with his popular acoustic/blues-harp romp, "Room To Move," probably his best known track on U.S. radio. For an encore he does a memorable rendition of "The Last Time."
There are no superstars in this band line up, but they remain potent nonetheless with John Mayall on harmonica, guitar and keyboards, Steve Thompson on bass, Soko Richardson on drums, and James Quill Smith on guitar.
Although Mayall rarely tours the U.S. anymore, he has remained a staple on the European blues scene. Many of the superstars that have graduated from the Mayall band have called Mayall a difficult taskmaster, but also claimed he was supportive of their own musical growth. Like a watchful mother bird, Mayall would often kick his own band members out of the safety of his nest so they could learn to fly and survive on their own.