John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers get the same bum rap that The Yardbirds suffer through. Specifically, the comments akin to "I only listen to them because [insert famous guitarist name here] was in the band for 5 weeks." Yep, Eric Clapton and Peter Green both did time in the Bluesbreakers. So did John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. But, like The Yardbirds, the Bluesbreakers were better than just being a footnote in some guitar heroes resume. And this song proves it.
This live version of Crawling Up A Hill is the first song off of John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers' first album, John Mayall Plays John Mayall (aka Live at Klooks Kleek). The album came out in December of 1964 and features the aforementioned John McVie on bass and relative unknown Roger Dean on guitar and Hughie Flint on drums. An inferior studio recording was released as Mayall's first single five months prior to this release.
It's a hell of a two minute song that I never tire of. The musicianship is really quite stellar. All of them, but, in particular, take a listen to Roger Dean's tasteful guitar work. He was months away from being replaced by Eric Clapton and falling into the shadow of obscurity. His work here -- and on the whole album -- is really quite good. Surprising to me that he didn't resurface elsewhere in a more famous band. Of course Mayall, on his own composition, is quite strong vocally, on organ and on harmonica on this song as well.
We'll see you on the Flip-Side!