It’s a tired and timeless cliché to say that John Mayall has always been better-known for being a mentor to a generation of legendary British blues and rock musicians than for being a top-selling performing and recording artist in his own right. But, as generations of rock critics have demonstrated, it is just what you say about the great John Mayall.
The marquee alumni of Mayall’s band the Bluesbreakers are Eric Clapton, of course, as well as Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green and second-period Rolling Stones ringer Mick Taylor. The list also includes John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, Cream’s Jack Bruce and legendary drummer Aynsley Dunbar. Most stints in the Bluesbreakers were brief (John McVie’s four-year tenure is considered the longest); Mayall was a demanding employer as well as a restless plucker of new talent.
Mayall’s essential Chicago blues style took many turns over a number of albums that is quite literally countless. He experimented with jazz fusion in the early ’70s and, more successfully, with acoustic blues in the late ’60s. Even as his sidemen went on to form higher-profile projects, Mayall remained successful. For both his role as a kind of finishing school for British rock stars and for the impressive and massive body of work, John Mayall is not only a face on the Rushmore of British blues; he has been for about 50 years.
And counting. The legendary John Mayall performs at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock on Sunday, June 4 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $30 to $55. For tickets and additional information, visit www.bearsvilletheater.com. The Bearsville Theater is located at 291 Tinker Street in Woodstock.