Weekly Recommended Listens: March 2017, Week 1: Sixties Rock: Blues Rock

Hi everyone, here’s our recommended music posting of the week!

In March, we’re continuing our 2017 look at Sixties Rock and our new monthly theme is Blues Rock.

As usual we’ll be offering suggestions of music you can listen to both by streaming, through the library’s digital Freegal Music Service,* and by checking out albums available in the library’s compact disc collection.

And our three artists/groups for this week are three of the most influential blues rock artist and groups of the Sixties: John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac and Cream. And indeed, you heard me right (or you read me right!) I did type Fleetwood Mac! The original Fleetwood Mac really did play blues rock and there is a connection between Fleetwood Mac, Cream and the great British Blues player & band leader John Mayall – namely, the fact that members of both Fleetwood Mac and Cream played with John Mayall’s sixties era band – The Bluesbreakers!

As a reminder our weekly music postings have the following sections:

I. Brief Artist Bios

II. Freegal Music Recommendations Of The Week (streaming music)

III. CD Music Recommendations Of The Week

IV. Videos Of The Artists Of The Week

V. Wild Card Print Book Recommendation Of The Week (a print book that focuses on a musician, musicians, songwriters or other musical genres, styles etc. from any musical era)

VI. References (for those who’d like to know a bit more about the artists of the week).

And on to our BLUES ROCK posting for this week!

I. Brief Artist Bios:

1) John Mayall: John Mayall is, indeed, as the biography on his website states “a pioneer of blues music” and “The Godfather of British Blues.” He was born on November 29, 1933 in a village near Manchester, England, became a huge blues fan in his teens, began playing professionally in the 1950s fronting his own bands and playing keyboards and harmonica. And he first gained the attention of blues fans around the world with the second, third and fourth albums he cut in the 1960s with his band The Bluesbreakers: 1. John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, 2. A Hard Road which features Eric Clapton’s replacement on guitar – future Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green, and 3. Crusade which featured guitarist Mick Taylor – the same Mick Taylor who replaced Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones in 1969!

It is also worthy of note, that the bassist on four of Mayall’s first five albums, sans the aptly titled The Blues Alone album which was a solo album, was future Fleetwood Mac bassist and co-founder John McVie!

Mayall moved to the United States in late 1960s and continues to perform and record today. He released a new album in January of this year titled Talk About That which features former Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh. Kudos to Mayall for continuing to play the blues well into his eighties!

2) Fleetwood Mac: The original Fleetwood Mac played some really great blues! The original quartet included guitarists and vocalists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer and the “name” members of the band – Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass. The quartet became a quintet with the edition of guitarist Danny Kirwan in 1968. Peter Green, who was the driving force behind the original group, left the band in 1970 and Christine Perfect-McVie officially joined the group in 1971 by which time the band was transitioning from a blues rock group to a pop rock group.

Fleetwood Mac’s first four albums, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Mr. Wonderful, English Rose and Then Play On,  are certainly well grounded in the blues. And of course, Fleetwood Mac continue to play and record to this day.

3) Cream: You can hear both the blues and jazz in Cream’s music, although, it is definitely rock music too! And as Cream is very well known, I’m only going to offer a super cliff notes version of a brief bio for them! The group consisted of former Graham Bond Organization members Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker on bass and drums, respectively, and guitarist Eric Clapton. The group released four  albums before disbanding, Fresh Cream, Disraeli Gears, Wheels Of Fire & Goodbye.

Sadly, Jack Bruce died in 2014. Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker continue to perform and record.

Freegal Notes:

To access Freegal Music from a desktop or laptop simply click on the following link:

The Freegal Music Catalog homepage will display — it looks like this:

The Freegal Music app can be found in your app store and it looks like this:

II. Freegal Music Recommendations Of The Week:

1. John Mayall’s Wake Up Call

The Freegal Catalog doesn’t have all of John Mayall’s albums or even any of his 1960s era albums, but never fear – the man plays great blues even when he is not accompanied by famous guitarists. So I’m going to recommend you listen to one of his more “recent” albums found in the Freegal catalog – 1993’s Wake Up Call. This album is great and I especially love the songs Mail Order Mystics, Nature’s Disappearing and Walk Up Call. Guest artists on the album include Mavis Staples on thetitle track, legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy on the tune I Could Cry and former Bluesbreaker and Rolling Stone Mick Taylor on the song Not At Home.

Here’s a link to stream the Wake Up Call album:

While researching which John Mayall albums are available in the Freegal Music Catalog, I came across a cool album of blues piano pioneers selected by John Mayall!

If you haven’t heard his music before, John Mayall’s primary instruments are piano, organ/electric keyboard and harmonica and this album contains some of his favorite blues piano players. The album is titled: Picking the Blues – Compiled By John Mayall – Boogie Woogie Pioneers
Here’s a link to stream it: https://goo.gl/NZi7Lq

2. Fleetwood Mac’s Live In Boston Vol. 1 & 2 & Peter Green’s Supernatural Anthology:

The Freegal Music Catalog doesn’t feature any of Fleetwood Mac’s studio albums. However, it does feature two live albums, titled Live In Boston, volumes 1 & 2, featuring the 1960s version of the band and a cool collection of Peter Green’s music titled Supernatural Anthology, which features some of Green’s work with Fleetwood Mac and work he did later as a solo artists with a much later back-up band called “Splinter Group.”

And if you’re a blues guitar fan and only going to listen to one of these albums – I’d recommend the Supernatural Anthology; because, although Green’s voice shows his age a bit – you get a better idea of the depth of his guitar playing than on the live Fleetwood Mac tracks available in the Freegal catalog, and, you thus get a better idea of why he was good enough to replace Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.

Here’s a link to stream Peter Green’s Supernatural Anthology:

Fleetwood Mac’s Live In Boston Remastered Vol. 1 and Live In Boston Remastered Vol. 2.

Live In Boston Remastered Vol. 1 includes the songs Black Magic Woman (written by Green but a much, much bigger hit for Santana), Jumping At Shadows, Like It This Way, Got To Move and two long jamming songs: The Green Manalishi and Rattesnake Shake and more – here’s a link to stream the album:https://goo.gl/ut1956

Live In Boston Remastered Vol. 2 features a number of lesser known Fleetwood Mac songs, with the exception of the title track from their 1969 album Then Play On. Here’s a link to stream the album: https://goo.gl/LFkZxg

2. Cream: Clapton’s Live & Rare, Ginger Baker’s Horses & Trees & Jack Bruce’s A Question of Time and The Jack Bruce Collection:

Unfortunately, The Freegal Music catalog doesn’t feature any albums by Cream. However, we do have all four of the 1960s era Cream albums available on CD at the library – to request them click on the following link to StarCat: enterprise.stls.org

And since Freegal doesn’t have any of Cream’s music I’ll recommend some music by the individual band members instead.

Live & Rare by Eric Clapton: Yhis collection  features some of the songs Clapton did with the Yardbirds prior to his work with John Mayall and Cream.The Yardbirds songs on this collection are more of the rave-up basic-classic-rock variety than blues but they do offer insight into the evolution of Clapton’s music. The songs include: The hit For Your Love, Got To Hurry, Boom Boom, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl and more.

Here’s the link to stream the Live & Rare album:

Horses & Trees by Ginger Baker: Horses & Trees is an excellent Ginger Baker album from 2009. This LP was produced by Bill Laswell and showcases Baker’s excellent drum playing – he really is what is known as a musician’s musician – the man is a brilliant drummer!

AllMusic gave this album an outstanding review, which for the sake of brevity I won’t post here – however, here’s the link to the review should you wish to peruse it: https://goo.gl/veNI1u

And here’s a link to stream the Horses & Trees album itself:

A Question of Time (1989) by Jack Bruce: This is a great album full of intense songs including: No Surrender, Hey Now Princess, Let Me Be and Grease The Wheels. Bruce was at the top of his recording form with this album!

Here’s the link to the stream the A Question ff Time album: https://goo.gl/V27ojj

The Jack Bruce Collector’s Edition (1995) by Jack Bruce: This album offers songs from throughout Bruce’s solo career including Waiting on a Word, Theme of an Imaginary Western, Sitting on Top of the World, The Wind Cries Mary and more — the man really was an outstanding musical talent both in his bass playing and his vocals.

Here’s a link to stream the Jack Bruce Collector’s Edition: https://goo.gl/uXmm7w

Freegal Wild Card Pick Of The Week:

The First Recordings Years 50 by Patsy Cline:

Patsy Cline had a great voice and was one of the most popular country singers in the late fifties and early sixties. And no doubt she would be even better known today if not for her tragic death in a plane crash at age thirty. Her music is classified as country but I’ve never liked musical classifications as they tend to turn people off! So I’d just say Patsy Cline was an exceptionally expressive singer and her music is worthy of a listen!

The Freegal Music Catalog features a terrific intro collection of Cline’s songs including the favorites: A Church, A Courtroom and Then Goodbye, Walking After Midnight, Three Cigarettes in The Ashtray and more – check it out!

Here’s a link to stream the Patsy Cline album: https://goo.gl/AF3T0Q

III. Compact Discs Recommendations:

1. John Mayall: Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, A Hard Road & Crusade:

I’m going to recommend John Mayall’s second, third and fourth albums recording with his Bluesbreakers and which feature, in addition to the keyboard Playing and vocals provided by the band-leader himself, Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor on guitars. All three of these albums are fantastic – and you can click on links for AllMusic reviews for each album under the References – John Mayall section.

Here’s a link to request the CD of Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton: https://goo.gl/u2lvcT

Here’s a link to request the CD album of A Hard Road with guitarist Peter Green: https://goo.gl/VzrEcy

And here’s a link to request the album Crusade featuring Mick Taylor on guitar: https://goo.gl/AmLBpb

Fleetwood Mac: Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac:

The library also owns the early Fleetwood Mac albums English Rose & Then Play On; however, if you want to get a feel for the Blues Rock band Fleetwood Mac was in the 1960s this, their first album, is the best place to start. This album features the songs: Looking For Somebody, No Place To Go, My Heart Beat Like a Hammer, Shake Your Moneymaker, The Wold Keep on Turning and more.

Here’s a link to request the CD version of the album:https://goo.gl/x5wnkQ

Cream: Disraeli Gears: 

The library owns all four of Cream’s original sixties releases: Fresh Cream, Disraeli Gears, Wheels of Fire and Goodbye. The CD I’m recommending is their second album — all four albums are great but Disraeli Gears is what I would call short and straight to the point music — by which I mean you hear great songs by the band which run less than five minutes. In contrast, the second album of the two-disc Wheels of Fire set contains songs recorded live including the 15 minute songs Toad and Spoonful and most of those songs really are long jam sessions. So if you’re not familiar with Cream’s music start with this album and then branch out to listen to the others.

Disraeli Gears features the songs: Strange Brew, Sunshine of Your Love, Dance The Night Away, Tales of Brave Ulysses, Take It Back, Outside Woman Blues and more. This album is currently processed and should be listed in StarCat to request shortly. I will update this posting to include the request link as soon as it is ready to circulate. Or, you can email your request to me at: reimerl@stls.org And in the meantime — you might check out Wheels of Fire which is available to circulate — the set features two discs a live album and a studio album and the popular Cream song White Room as well as a fund version of Born Under A Bad Sign.

Wild Card CD Pick Of The Week:

Black Star by David Bowie:

This is Bowie’s last album and it won all five Grammys it was nominated for this year! It includes the songs: Blackstar, ‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore, Lazarus, Sue (Or In a Season of Crime), Girl Loves Me, Dollar Days and I Can’t Give Everything Away.

Here’s a link to the request page in StarCat:

IV. Videos Of The Artists Of The Week:

John Mayall:

John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers: Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton: This is the whole album available to stream via YouTube so it is more audio than video; but then the music really is the point! And we do get to see a photo of the album cover that features John McVie with what can only be described as a “get-away-from-me-with-that-camera” expression on his face!

Here’s a link to stream the album:

So May Roads: This 2008 clip features guitarist Gary Moore:

Here’s the link:


Fleetwood Mac:

Need Your Love So Bad


Oh Well



Sunshine Of Your Love – From the 1968 Farewell Concert at the Royal Albert Hall:


Cream “White Room/Crossroads/Badge” From the 2005 Reunion Concert at the Royal Albert Hall:


V. Wild Card Print Book Recommendation Of The Week:

Lin-Manuel Mirandaby Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter:

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Eleven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country’s origins for a diverse new generation.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages–“since before this was even a show,” according to Miranda–traces its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here. Description – from the publisher.

VI. General References & Artist Specific References:

General References:
David Bowie posthumously sweeps with 5 Grammy wins

Patsy Cline Bio:

Santelli, Robert. Sixties Rock: A Listener’s Guide. Contemporary Books. Chicago. 1985.
Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. Billboard Books. New York. 2009.

Artist/Group References:

Eric Clapton – Bio

Eric Clapton – Official Website

Ginger Baker Bio

Ginger Baker – Official Website: http://www.gingerbaker.com/

Jack Bruce – Bio:

Jack Bruce, Cream’s Adventurous Bassist, Dies at 71

The Official Jack Bruce Website:

John Mayall:
John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton review from AllMusic

John Mayall’s Crusade album review from AllMusic

John Mayall’s A Hard Road album review from AllMusic

John Mayall’s Bio from his official site:


John Mayall Bio from AllMusic:


Fleetwood Mac:

Fleetwood Mac – official site:

Fleetwood Mac Discography

Fleetwood Mac Bio:

Mick Fleetwood Bio:

Jeremy Spencer – Official Website

John McVie Bio:

Peter Green Bio:

Peter Green Splinter Group

And those are the blues rock recommendations for this bitterly cold weekend (at least for those of us who live in the Northeast!)

Have a great day!
Linda, SSCL

P.S. If you have any questions about how to download or stream free music through the Freegal Music service to a desktop or laptop computer or how to download and use the Freegal Music app let us know! Drop by the library or give us a call at: 607-936-3713

*You must have a library card at a Southern Tier Library System member library to enjoy the Freegal Music Service. Your card can be from any library in the system, and the system includes all public libraries in Steuben, Chemung, Yates, Schuyler and Allegheny Counties and including our own Southeast Steuben Count Library in Corning, New York. Library cards are free and at our library you can obtain one by visiting the Circulation Desk and presenting staff with a form of ID that features both your name and your current address.

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