John Mayall with Joel McIver – Blues from Laurel Canyon: My Life as a Bluesman
- by J.N.
- Posted on 16-05-2020
The living legend and purveyor of riveting blues rock that is John Mayall surely needs no introduction and one could argue that without him, the classic rock and early hard rock outfits that sprang into life in the late 60s and early 70s would have sounded quite different had it not been for his huge influence on numerous guitarists. The great man had (and still has) a sound and style of his own. Eric Clapton, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Jon Hiseman, and Walter Trout among many others trod the boards with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers at various points in time.
Partly named after one of the very best blues rock records of all time in the humble opinion of this writer (i.e. the 1968 offering by John Mayall), “Blues from Lauren Canyon” is an insightful and inspired read in which Mayall comes across as candid and honest, and its 246 glorious pages are a reflective account of his amazing journey through (and contribution to) the blues. Born in 1933, it guides us through his childhood years and youth and then further on to his musical endeavors and career in London followed by him relocating to Los Angeles. The storyline more or less reaches its conclusion by the time 1979 rolls around the corner, and the last few pages serve as a recap of the years between 1980 and the present day. This strongly indicates that there will be a second volume or a sequel to “Blues from Laurel Canyon” – one can only hope, because the well-composed piece of work that we are focusing on here is excellent. In fact, this is undoubtedly one of the most exciting books in which talented author Joel McIver has been involved that I have had the pleasure of reading yet (and trust me, I have read quite a few of them!).
Funny and entertaining one minute only to turn either sad or tragic the next, Mayall tells it like it is and offers a warm and intimate portrait of his life, told in a vibrant and vivid manner with his voice clearly present on every page and in each syllable. I had a blast reading this one and it comes highly recommended if you wish to learn more about a true pioneer who means an awful lot to lovers of blues rock everywhere. Mayall elegantly weaves a compelling narrative in which all his triumphs and defeats are either touched on or discussed in great detail, and he is most definitely neither blind nor oblivious to his own failings and mistakes in life, which is one of many reasons why “Blues from Lauren Canyon” is both a must-have and a marvelous, touching story.