And More...

Crusade is a slightly heftier slug in the kick, but with the original twelve tracks nearly doubled with bonus material it seemed like the $11.99 was a reasonable investment.

The first thing that strikes you (or, at least the first thing that struck me) about both these albums is relative sparseness of the sound. We're talking a basic guitar, bass, drums and keys outfit here, with the odd bit of horn work riffing in the background. None of that fancy overdubbing to fill in holes in the sound here, folks. One imagines it was a case of a quick run through a bundle of numbers they'd worked up for the live set live in the studios straight onto the four track (at the maximum) recorder. If the Beatles were forced to do something like Sergeant Pepper on four tracks you can't imagine a blues band getting access to anything better, can you?

And with more than four inputs (vocals and guitar, one imagines, would take up half of what's available there's not going to be room for overdubs unless you were to mix things down to make room, and that's going to take time innit?

The second thing that strikes you (or, again, that struck me) is Mayall's limits as a vocalist. Don't get me wrong, he delivers a competent performance throughout, but he doesn't deliver the throaty roar of a Winwood, Marriott or Stewart.

But, on the other hand, if you look on the vocal choruses as a bit of filler between instrumental breaks that's hardly a problem, is it?

Because, when you look at it from where I'm sitting you're interested in catching the early versions of a couple of great guitarists doing their thing and throughout both albums Peter Green and Mick Taylor deliver in spades.

A Hard Road.jpg

A Hard Road, recorded on five dates in October and November 1966, and released the following February, featured Mayall on guitar and keyboards with Green on lead guitar, John McVie on bass, Hughie Flint and Aynsley Dunbar on drums and a brass section comprising John Almond, Alan Skidmore and Ray Warleigh. Vocals are mainly Mayall, though Green takes the lead on You Don't Love Me and The Same Way. Writing credits mainly go to Mayall, though Green contributed two, including the prototype for Black Magic Woman (The Supernatural) and a quartet of covers You Don't Love Me, Elmore James' Dust My Broom, and Freddie King's The Stumble and Someday After A While (You'll Be Sorry).


B© Ian Hughes 2012