Tuesday, February 16, 2010

John Mayall: Tough

ToughMike Joyce reviews John Mayall's Tough.
"Tough" marks a lineup shift; Mayall isn't fronting yet another edition of the Bluesbreakers. Not only is he in good form, singing and playing organ, guitar and squalling harmonica, he's in good company, leading a robust quintet that boasts keyboardist Tom Canning and guitarist Rocky Athas. The songs aren't exceptional, but they are sturdy, and the best of them, including Gary Nicholson's dire blues "How Far Down" and Jeff Pitchell's "An Eye for an Eye," are keepers. Hard times and emotional despair inspire recurring themes, as the album's title suggests, but the performances are also a reminder of Mayall's remarkable resilience.
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