The Blues Boom of the sixties produced a tremendous flowering of talent in an idiom which had previously been very much a specialist musical backwater. So, hot on the success of the original "White Boy Blues" album we once again delve into the vaults of the Immediate and Decca catalogues to produce some of the finest and in some cases rarest recordings by the stars of the white blues explosion. For lovers of blues guitar-playing, here in one package we have Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Alvin Lee, Tony McPhee, Albert Lee and Kim Simmonds let alone other great musicians like John Mayall, Martin Stone and even a youthful Rod Stewart.
The first band the Savoy Brown Blues Band were formed in London in late 1965 and comprised originally Kim Simmonds on guitar, John O'Leary on harmonica, Brice Portius (vocals) Ray Chappell (bass) Leo Mannings (bass) and Bob Hall (piano). The tracks here are the band's first recordings produced by Mike Vernon for his Purdah label in 1966 and represent the start of a long and hardworking career including 11 albums for Decca in the period to 1974 and numerous U.S. tours. Savoy Brown never achieved any substantial commercial success in the United Kingdom but had many top 100 albums in the U.S.A. and they were pioneers of the evolution of blues and boogie into mainstream rock in the late 60's.
Tony McPhee also had a long and varied career from the time of his first recordings here, again produced by Mike Vernon, and has a fanatical following led by the "Yelping Hounds" society. McPhee was an early British exponent of bottleneck guitar playing and he evolved subsequently into a real guitar hero with a couple of hugely successful albums with the Groundhogs.
Albert Lee has now been playing professionally for over 25 years, and has always been a real musicians' musician. Starting out as the guitarist in Chris Farlowe's band - The Thunderbirds he then concentrated on session work before coming out front in "Heads, Hands and Feet". The three tracks included here recorded in 1968 show his fluid guitar style with a slight bias towards the country music which led him to Emmylou Harris' Hot Band.
More recently Albert teamed up with Eric Clapton, who is featured himself on two tracks here with John Mayall. John Mayall was at the centre of the blues boom and with Eric Clapton, the Bluesbreakers were at their peak. "On Top of The World" is a rare track originally featured on "Immediate Blues Anytime Compilations (Volume 2)" from which series most of the tracks here are taken, and the instrumental "Hideaway" is from the classic "Bluesbreakers" LP. Peter Green having taken over from Clapton in the Bluesbreakers made one classic album "A Hard Road" with Mayall before forming Fleetwood Mac, and his own composition the atmospheric instrumental "The Super-Natural" is taken from that album.
A guitarist equally popular to Green but playing in a completely different style was Alvin Lee, whose band Ten Years After toured with great success for many years, and Will achieve immortality, apart from anything else, for a spectacular performance at the Woodstock festival. Lee's speciality was speed and energy and this is well illustrated on his version of the classic "Standing at the Crossroads."
Of the other artists featured here Rod Stewart needs no introduction and his 1967 version of "So Much to Say" shows he was a great talent long before his rise to fame. The Dharma Blues Band included Dave Brock who is presumably the same person who went on to Hawkwind, Luke Francis (vocal and guitar) and Mike King (piano). Stones Masonry were Martin Stone (guitar) Pete Shelley (organ) Keith Tillman (bass) and Michael Riley (drums). The main interest here is that it appears to be the first of the many recordings by Martin Stone, who went on to such bands as Savoy Brown, Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers, Ducks Deluxe and the Pink Fairies. Thus we have a link from the blues boom straight into the mini pub-rock boom in the early 70's. Cyril Davis was one man who did more perhaps than any other to bring the electric Chicago blues sound to London, long before its commercial possibilities were realised, but his recordings with the All Stars, were few. "Not Fade Away" here is a rare track about which little is known except that it appears to have never been previously released.
So here is White Boy Blues Volume 2, in preparation for the next blues boom, now sadly more than ten years overdue.
"Hideaway" & "The Super-Natural" licensed from Interworld.
(P) 1986 Castle Communications PLC/Limited
271 Merton Road
Made in the U.K.
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