Monday, December 9, 2019

The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton - I'm Your Witchdoctor - Various Songs (1965-1966)

I just posted an album of BBC performances by John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. As I explained in that post, the 2006 deluxe edition of that band's "Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton" album included a long bonus disc of extra tracks. I decided it makes better listening to split that in two, along with adding some extra tracks. So that BBC album I just posted is the first part of that split, and this album is the second.

So what's on this album? I've used it as a catch-all of everything Clapton did with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers while he was a part of that band in 1965 and 1966. The first five songs are studio tracks. Four of those are A-sides and B-sides.

The next six songs are live tracks. They were professionally recorded for a live album that never got released. So their sound quality is excellent, although, oddly, there's virtually no audience noise at the end of each song. Instead, for most of them, there's some brief talking by band members that quickly fades out. Musically, I think these live tracks are the best part of this album. Clapton is able to stretch out with some great guitar soloing. Also note that Jack Bruce plays bass on these live tracks, but not with anything else recorded by the Bluesbreakers. Of course, Bruce and Clapton would go on to form Cream with Ginger Baker shortly after Clapton left the Bluesbreakers.

Finally, I've ended the album with three songs from a group known as "the Powerhouse." This is kind of an oddity. They weren't a real band; they were a group of musicians who got together one time only to record these three songs for a various artists compilation called "What's Shakin'." I figure they belong here more than anywhere else because they feature Clapton on guitar, and they were recorded in early 1966 while Clapton was still a part of the Bluesbreakers. In addition to Clapton on guitar, the songs feature Steve Winwood on vocals, Jack Bruce on bass, Paul Jones on harmonica, Pete York on drums, and Ben Palmer on piano.

It turns out this album is longer than the BBC Sessions one, at 48 minutes long. By putting the BBC performances on a separate album, I was able to avoid instances of the same song appearing on one album.

01. I'm Your Witchdoctor (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
02. Telephone Blues (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
03. On Top of the World (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
04. Lonely Years (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
05. Bernard Jenkins (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
06. Call It Stormy Monday (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
07. Intro into Maudie (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
08. It Hurts to Be in Love (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
09. Have You Ever Loved a Woman (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
10. Bye Bye Bird (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
11. Hoochie Coochie Man (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
12. Steppin' Out [Instrumental] (Steve Winwood & the Powerhouse)
13. I Want to Know (Steve Winwood & the Powerhouse)
14. Crossroads (Steve Winwood & the Powerhouse)

I put some extra effort into the cover art in order to make it appear like an album that could have been released in 1966 or thereabouts. I used the cover to the "Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton" album as a rough guide. I found a different photo of the band from that time period as the central focus.


  1. Great minds think alike....I recently posted a three album John Mayall retrospective, one of which used the same title and cover shot as this one! Luckily the track listings differ considerably so I'll be grabbing this one.

    1. I regularly keep an eye on your blog, since you're always posting interesting stuff. Seeing you post some Bluesbreakers stuff made me think why haven't I posted my Bluesbreakers albums yet? So I did. But the reasons our albums differ, I think, is mainly that I've stuck to 100% Clapton stuff, and yours has some pre-Clapton stuff (not that there's anything wrong with that).

  2. I have to admit that before I posted my albums I didn't even know there was a guitarist before Clapton. I vaguely knew Roger Dean, but Bernie Watson?

  3. Excellent blogm, thank you kindly for your superb efforts. Small point: I bought "What's Shaking" in 1966 (still have the vinyl and the CD) and the band's name is Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse, otherwise the lineup is correct. A fourth track which Clapton described as a "slow blues" was recorded but never issued, it may be on Elektra's cutting room library. (From the CD sleeve).