After launching the careers of countless guitarists including Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor, John Mayall is turning to others for help as he soldiers on through winter.
The 85-year-old former head of the Bluesbreakers is joined by Joe Bonamassa, Larry McCray, Todd Rundgren, Rush’s Alex Lifeson, E Street’s Steven Van Zandt and Carolyn Wonderland on the 10 tracks that make up Nobody Told Me. Mayall deemed their contributions important enough each is listed on the cover.
While most guest-filled, late-career LPs fall flat, Mayall’s struts confidently on traditional blues structures – brass-fueled rockers, slow-burning laments, ballsy boasts – and lyrics about devils and deep seas, full moons, all-night lovin’, jail, tears, the Delta and the Windy City.
You got me starin’ out the window and I’m wonderin’ what the hell went wrong, he sings on the elegiac title track that closes the record.
Each of the individual guitarists brings his or her own character – Bonamassa’s unbridled power, Rundgren’s surprisingly authentic blues, Wonderland’s slide – to rub against Mayall’s voice, which sounds more like Boz Scaggs’ with each passing year.
If nobody told you Mayall was halfway through his ninth decade, you’d never know it from listening to Nobody Told Me – a solid album from a blues artist of any age.l