Apart from guitar players already mentioned, those included Jack Bruce (Manfred Mann, Cream, West, Bruce and Laing), John McVie and Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac), Aynsley Dunbar (Jeff Beck Group, Zappa, Whitesnake), John Hiseman and Dick Heckstall-Smith (Colosseum), Andy Fraser (Free) etc. etc. etc.

For now, last year's befittingly-titled
Freddie King tribute "In The Palace Of The King" stands as the last ever release by John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers. Incidentally, it is also the 56th album by John Mayall, OBE, and regardless of the line-up to be announced and his choice of band name, I shall wait for number 57. In the words of the aging maestro, "it has been a great ride indeed."



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A Hard Road Hath Endeth: Mayall's Bluesbreakers Disbanded

17 December 2008

Upon turning 75 on November 29th, John Mayall, one of the better-known fathers of British blues and/or blues rock, has announced plans for disbanding The Bluesbreakers, the long-time backing group that has served him in its various incarnations off and on since the 1960's. The line-up for Mayall's new band is to be revealed in 2009.

"I want to cut back on my usual heavy workload and also give myself freedom to work with other musicians if and when I feel like it," Mayall comments on his website,
JohnMayall.com. "Needless to say this doesn't mean I'll be abandoning the blues but rather hoping to expand on it through guest appearances and in the company with other musicians."
The name Bluesbreakers first made its appearance before a wider audience on the sleeve of John Mayall's second LP, the deservedly legendary "Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton" in 1966 a recording responsible for proving to wannabe guitar slingers of the day that white boys CAN play the blues and introducing the Beano comic to those of us less than British.

It was followed by "A Hard Road" which included
Peter Green's breathtaking instrumental "The Supernatural", an EP with the late Paul Butterfield (now included as bonus material on the CD version of the aforementioned album), and "Crusade" with future Rolling Stone Mick Taylor handling the guitar duties.
And then the first Bluesbreakers period was over: Mayall's next releases were the virtually solo "The Blues Alone" with just Keef Hartley added on drums and the superb "Blues From Laurel Canyon" set that again featured Green and Taylor but without the Bluesbreakers name tag.

The subsequent breakerless American excursions of the 1970's saw the occasional
Harvey Mandel on guitar, and Mayall's solo releases which have continued throughout the second Bluesbreakers era (1982-2008) include guest appearances by everyone from Buddy Guy to Gary Moore.

Thus, it's hardly surprising that the freshly disbanded version of The Bluesbreakers with
Buddy Whittington on guitar is likely to go down in history as the longest lasting but the least legendary of Mayall's bands: while the personal following Mr. Whittington enjoys remains well-deserved, it hardly measures up to those of his immediate predecessors Coco Montoya and Walter Trout, let alone the bluesbreakers of yore.
The "Beano" album of 1966
The last Bluesbreakers gig in Finland, 30 June 2008