Beginning with John Mayall and his epochal Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton Grapefruit‘s roughly-chronological collection illustrates how the blues and its variants permeated the late 60s British music scene, happily highlighting the key players – often in more obscure settings – while providing examples of the lesser known, and near-forgotten, equally inspired by Mayall’s example.
The Fleetwood Mac clan are here in force; ‘Love That Burns’ from Mr. Wonderful; Peter Green guesting on Brunning Sunflower Blues Band’s ‘Ride With Your Daddy Tonight’; Jeremy Spencer’s ‘Mean Blues’ from his eponymous (and whacky) solo album; and The Christine Perfect Band’s out-take ‘It’s You I Miss’. Likewise Zeppelin; Page in ‘67 on a live Yardbirds ‘I’m A Man’; John Paul Jones guesting on ‘You Shook Me’ from Jeff Beck’s Truth; and Plant in a short-lived trio with Alexis Korner.
Quiet Melon – whose ‘Diamond Joe’ is a revelation – turn out to be Art Wood plus a proto-Faces. The much-refried ‘Bring It On Home’ and ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ are made fresh in versions from Bakerloo and Jasper. Siren’s ‘Gardener Man’, Steamhammer’s ‘Passing Through’, and Edgar Broughton’s ‘Old Gopher’ might have been equally at home on an I’m A Freak Baby collection, but sit happy here; like many of the later selections, of the blues but reaching beyond.