Monday, December 9, 2019

The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton - BBC Sessions, 1965-1966

In March 1965, Eric Clapton left the Yardbirds because he felt they were becoming too poppy and commercial, and he wanted to play the blues. He joined John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers one month later, and stayed with them through July 1966. The best result of Clapton's time with the Bluesbreakers is the 1966 album "Blues Breakers with Erlc Clapton," also known as "The Beano Album."

But they recorded a lot of other music too. Nearly all of this was released as bonus material on the deluxe edition of that album in 2006. However, I felt the way that extra material is presented is not ideal. Extra studio tracks, live tracks, and BBC tracks were all put on one long bonus CD, mixed together without much logic.

So instead, I've split that extra stuff into two albums. This one contains all the BBC material, and the other one contains the rest. When I originally posted this four of the BBC performances hadn't been officially released, but existed on bootleg. Since then, they've been released as part of the mega-box set "The First Generation." So I've updated this album with those versions (even though the bootleg versions have the same sound quality, to my ears.) I've slotted those in chronologically with the others.

Thankfully, there are no instances of BBC DJs talking over the music this time around. So I didn't have to do anything except compile the songs. I suspect that's because the sessions were not for the usual pop-oriented BBC shows - one of the shows they did was called "Jazz Beat." It seems the DJs for those shows were more respectful of the music.

Note that John Mayall has had a long career, both before and after Clapton's relatively short time with his band, the Bluesbreakers. Personally, I'm not a fan of Mayall. His harmonica playing is pretty good, but his vocals and songwriting are just okay. So I'm mainly interested in Clapton's involvement. Thus, I've only included the songs that feature Clapton. (At this point in his career, Clapton just played lead guitar and didn't sing lead vocals.)

This is a relatively short album, only 31 minutes long.

01 Crawling Up a Hill (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
02 Crocodile Walk (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
03 Bye Bye Bird (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
04 Cheatin' Woman (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
05 Nowhere to Turn (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
06 I'm Your Witchdoctor (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
07 Hide Away [Instrumental] (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
08 Little Girl (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
09 Tears in My Eyes (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
10 Parchman Farm (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
11 Key to Love (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
12 On Top of the World (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)

For the cover art, I started with an alternate cover to the "Beano" album that was released only in certain markets, and inverted the colors. I liked how it looked. Then I replaced the photo with another one of the band. Finally, I fiddled with the text some, moving parts around and adding Clapton's name and the BBC title.


  1. Hi just discovered your blog, nice. Don't mind Mayall's voice but then I caught him a few times back when we were all young.

  2. You may have heard of another compilation called Bluesbreaking, it's 20 tracks, this post includes two that didn't make that CD, but there are several on it you may have missed.

    01) Crawling Up a Hill
    02) Crocodile Walk
    03) Bye Bye Bird
    04) I'm Your Witchdoctor
    05) Telephone Blues
    06) On Top of the World
    07) Maudie
    08) It Hurts to Be in Love
    09) Have You Ever Loved a Woman
    10) Bye Bye Bird
    11) Hoochie Coochie Man
    12) Stormy Monday
    13) Lonely Years
    14) Bernard Jenkins
    15) On Top of the World
    16) Key to Love
    17) Hideaway (previously unreleased)
    18) Little Girl (previously unreleased)
    19) Tears in My Eyes (previously unreleased)
    20) Parchman Farm (previously unreleased)

    John Mayall: harmonica, keyboards, vocals;
    Eric Clapton: guitar (tracks 1-9, 11-19);
    John McVie: bass (tracks 1-5, 15-20);
    Jack Bruce: bass (tracks 6-12);
    Hughie Flint: drums.

  3. Thanks, Paul, for a lot of interesting albums!
    Tracks 4 and 5 feature Jack Bruce (no doubt) but actually they are from that strange "Glands-incident" phase where Clapton had left The Bluesbreakers to pursue ... whatever... - So Mayall's dilemma was to replace his absent star guitarist which he tried with John McLaughlin, Peter Green and Doctor K's Blues Band's Geoff Krivit, who plays here on this BBC Saturday Club date, October 25, 1965. Additionally, they played "I'm Your Witchdoctor", "Big Town Playboy" and "Parchman Farm".
    By the way, I tried to assemble my own "Complete Bluesbreakers with EC live" album. I also designed front and rear covers which I could share here if you're interested.

    1. So are you saying I should remove tracks 4 and 5 because Clapton isn't on them?

      I'd be interested in your live album. I'm surprised you have enough material for it. What's your source material for that?

  4. Oh no, you got me wrong! I do enjoy your albums. I'm not here to criticize or to demand a thing. In a way, I think, those tracks do fit into the Clapton-Mayall story perfectly as they reveal the simple truth that EC was irreplacable at the time and Mayall's search for a substitute was more than reluctant and fleeting as if he was sure "God" would come back. So I'd just make clear that it is Krivit here (evidence is audible) and leave the album as it is.
    My sources are the common ones... official samplers and compilations, inoffical SBD and AUD recordings, and finally the new Snapper 35 CD box set "The First Generation" which has the Beano album both in mono and stereo, the Purdah and Immediate singles, the Flamingo Club performance, all known 13 BBC tracks with Clapton, and Clapton's contributions to "Back to the Roots". In addition, it has the seven BBC tracks of Mayall with Peter Green, the Bromley Technical College performance, 14 live tracks from The Marquee to Manor House (which is a bit disappointing as there are more than 45 tracks out) and all officially released Mayall-Green material.
    As I do not collect physical stuff any more (I have more than 7000 CDs), my aim is to install a digital collection of the music I like (which is a task for three or four lifetimes) of best sources with excellent scans. So, it's constantly changing, and your album is a welcome addition.
    The only thing I could share is the front and back cover of a "Beano Live" LP I created in accordance to the existing Beano album but I have no clue how to upload it to your blog.