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John Mayall: Tough
According to the label’s press materials, Tough is, unbelievably, John Mayall’s 57th album. Most artists who’ve kept themselves to a single style—and Mayall has never veered from the blues—would have grown tired and tiring long ago, but this venerable 76-year-old blues master is still a commanding bandleader. With his voice as strong as ever, Mayall leads his current touring band through a set of ripping barnburners and slow, sultry blues, the latter category including the wakeup call “Tough Times Ahead,” which lays out our sorry state of affairs rather plainly. While the latest crop of Bluesbreakers probably doesn’t harbor another Clapton or Peter Green in its midst, they’re all strong players. But it’s Mayall himself—playing keyboards, harmonica and guitar as well as singing—who shines throughout every track.
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