11 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As a man who worked with so many first-rate British blues guitarists, John Mayall is an international treasure. His solo career has stuck to his love for the blues with rarely a variation. His album count since 1965 is somewhere above 60, with the decades piling them up with live albums and reissues. However, 2014’s A Special Life is a genuine new studio album, recorded in November 2013 at Entourage Studios in North Hollywood with Mayall’s current band: guitarist Rocky Athas, bassist Greg Rzab, and drummer Jay Davenport. C.J. Chenier brings his accordion to several tracks (including the cover of his dad Clifton Chenier’s “Why Did You Go Last Night,” one of several album highlights). The remaining tunes are a mix of classic blues and new Mayall compositions that sound like Chicago blues songs from previous decades. “World Gone Crazy” lets Mayall vent about wars caused by self-righteous religious fanatics, while covers of Albert King’s “Floodin’ in California,” Sonny Landreth’s “Speak of the Devil,” and Eddie Taylor’s “Big Town Playboy” let Mayall sit back and enjoy the repartee among his bandmates.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As a man who worked with so many first-rate British blues guitarists, John Mayall is an international treasure. His solo career has stuck to his love for the blues with rarely a variation. His album count since 1965 is somewhere above 60, with the decades piling them up with live albums and reissues. However, 2014’s A Special Life is a genuine new studio album, recorded in November 2013 at Entourage Studios in North Hollywood with Mayall’s current band: guitarist Rocky Athas, bassist Greg Rzab, and drummer Jay Davenport. C.J. Chenier brings his accordion to several tracks (including the cover of his dad Clifton Chenier’s “Why Did You Go Last Night,” one of several album highlights). The remaining tunes are a mix of classic blues and new Mayall compositions that sound like Chicago blues songs from previous decades. “World Gone Crazy” lets Mayall vent about wars caused by self-righteous religious fanatics, while covers of Albert King’s “Floodin’ in California,” Sonny Landreth’s “Speak of the Devil,” and Eddie Taylor’s “Big Town Playboy” let Mayall sit back and enjoy the repartee among his bandmates.

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