John Mayall - Howlin’ At The Moon

Early 80s Bluesbreakers stumble to finish line

Howlin’ At The Moon

John Mayall
has always laid
great store by
the standard
of his live
performances
– indeed, his late 80s
renaissance, which continues
today, was on the strength of
recording “a gig we did in
Hungary in a sports field with
built-in mikes picking things up”.

This is effectively a
repackaging of the second disc
of Rolling With The Blues (The
Second Decade 1972-1982),
released by Shakedown in
2003 with an additional
interview disc. Given that
Howlin’ At The Moon is being
advertised at budget price, and
that Mayall selected the tracks
personally, it’s a reasonable buy
if you don’t want the whole box
set. But since Mayall fans are
completists, this must be aimed
at the impulse purchaser.

The first four tracks, culled
from the same 1980 gig, have a
dated feel, with a nasty-sounding
electric keyboard
(played by the man himself)
over-prominent. But the
presence of guitarist Mick Taylor
and bassist John McVie, who
appear on six and four of the
remaining tracks respectively,
cranks things up several
notches. By the time the disc
ends with guitar instrumental
The Stumble, recorded in Italy in
1982, you feel things have
finally hit their stride. A mixed
bag.

2 stars 2 stars

Secret | SECCD 029

Reviewed by Michael Heatley
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