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John Mayall

John Mayall - John Mayall's Bluesbreakers: Live At Iowa State University DVD

Review by Gary Hill

In so many ways John Mayall has embodied the British blues movement. He’s probably best known in the US because his band has been the launching board for such luminaries of the rock work as Eric Clapton Jack Bruce, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. The thing is, Mayall is the real deal. He’s a talented musician (you see him play keyboards and guitar in addition to singing) and his band is pretty much always top notch. This performance is a scorcher that seems to cover all the varying styles of Mayall’s blues – from old school traditional blues to hard edged blues rock and everything in between. This band purely scorches and screams and takes no prisoners.

For my money the sound on the DVD at times feels a bit muddy. This is mostly an issue early on and probably due to some sound problems that were caught later in the set. The video is good for the time period, but not great. The truth is, though, this performance is so good it doesn’t matter. This was a band that was on top of its game and giving performances designed to take no prisoners. It’s great that this show was captured live and I’m glad we can get the chance to enjoy it in our homes. It’s a fine testament to the importance and prowess of Mayall and a good addition to the collection of anyone who enjoys the blues.  The extras are a bit thin, so let’s just disregard those. The concert itself is strong enough that it doesn’t matter.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 5 at

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