2019 – Forty Below Records
Release Date : Feb. 22, 2019
By Phillip Smith; Feb. 2, 2019
The highly revered Godfather of British Blues, John Mayall is back, and this time he’s bringing a slew of A-list guitarists to the studio with him. The list of guests on this album is comprised of Todd Rundgren, Little Steven Van Zandt (E Street Band), Alex Lifeson (Rush), Joe Bonamassa, Larry McCray and Carolyn Wonderland, all of whom are noted as personal favorites of Mayall. Returning to the studio with the godfather is Greg Rzab on bass guitar and Jay Davenport on drums. Billy Watts appears on rhythm guitar as well, along with Mayall’s horn section (who are also members of the house band for Conan O’Brian). Produced by Eric Corne (founder of Forty Below Records), and recorded in the famed Foo Fighters’ Studio 606, which houses the legendary Sound City console, the album has a sweet rich sound, and a luxurious, polished ambience.
The album opens with a down-home blues number by Magic Sam, “What Have I Done Wrong”. Mayall’s vocals are perfect for singing the blues, and Joe Bonamassa, needless to say, absolutely tears it up on guitar. Bonamassa also appears on the cover of “Delta Hurricane”, the title track to Larry McCray’s 1993 album. The groove on this is delightful, with Mayall on keys, Bonamassa on guitar, and a stellar brass accompaniment. McCray kills it on the Albert Collins song, “The Moon is Full”. I could listen to him play all day long. His performance on Gary Moore’s “The Hurt Inside” is wonderful too.
It’s a rare treat to hear Rush’s Alex Lifeson play hard core blues. With Mayall bringing it home on harp and keys, Lifeson pours himself into his performance on “Evil and Here to Stay” a tune from the late, great Jeff Healey. The funky riff Rundgren opens Little Milton’s “That’s What Love Will Make You Do” with, brings me immediately into the song. The horn section punches it up quite nicely while Rundgren keeps the endorphinic energy flowing freely. Hearing Little Steven dole out some serious blues in “It’s So Tough”, brings a giant smile to my face. It’s nothing short of an amazing listen.
I love the three tracks Carolyn Wonderland appears on. She boldly takes on Bonamassa’s “Distant Lonesome Train”, and plays the hell out of it. Her slide guitar is an absolute delight. She also covers a couple of Mayall-penned songs. With the timing of B.B. King, she instills a relaxed breath into title track “Nobody Told Me”, and puts the moxie in “Like it Like You Do”.
Nobody Told Me is a one of a kind record. The song choices Mayall makes for this are fantastic, and their execution is absolutely brilliant.
---Past PhillyCheeze reviews for John Mayall…
John Mayall - A Special Life :
John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers - Live in 1967 :
John Mayall - Find a Way to Care :
John Mayall - Talk About That :
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