John Mayall: Nobody Told Me
At 85 years old, and despite recent health setbacks, John Mayall keeps chugging along, doing what he’s been doing for some six decades: playing the blues. Since dropping guitarist Rocky Athas from his lineup, Mayall has been operating with a stripped-down trio (longtime band members Greg Rzab on bass and Jay Davenport on drums), but for the latest album, he’s chosen to dig into his contacts and bring in several notable guests. Todd Rundgren may not strike many as a blues specialist, but he more than holds his own with a ripping solo on “That’s What Love Will Make You Do,” while Rush’s Alex Lifeson and Steven Van Zandt pitch in, respectively, on “Evil and Here to Stay” and Mayall’s own “It’s So Tough.” Joe Bonamassa is a natural choice and he gets his say on a pair, “What Have I Done Wrong” and “Delta Hurricane.” Lesser known than all of the above is Carolyn Wonderland, who’s been serving as the newest member of Mayall’s band in the past year (his first-ever female lead guitarist), who gets to show off three times—she’s particularly impressive on the title track. Above all though, there’s Mayall, as savvy a bandleader—the horn section kills!—and compelling a vocalist as he’s ever been. If Mayall is anywhere near ready to call it quits, you’d never know it from Nobody Told Me .