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John Mayall 

70th Birthday Concert (Eagle Records)

If the spirit of this set is any indicator, John Mayall may be headed for a career in the Robert Lockwood Jr. longevity range. A celebration of Mayall's 70th birthday with his Bluesbreakers, as well as a couple of famous former members (Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor), a British "trad" jazz legend (trombonist Chris Barber), and a horn section, this live double-disc set confirms that the British blues pioneer has plenty left in the tank.

He's also still got an ear for guitar players. Buddy Whittington, Mayall's lead man for the past eight years, stands toe to toe with his legendary stagemates, with solos that are typically more frenetic than Taylor's or Clapton's. But not surprisingly, Clapton's stint yields the best moments: The Bluebreakers' classic 1966 covers of Otis Rush's "All Your Love" and Freddie King's "Hideaway" are recharged by ol' Slowhand's enthusiastic lead work.

More by Duane Verh

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