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Viper Alley Live
Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012 7:30 PM CDT (5:30 PM Doors)
with Jimmy Nick and Dont Tell Mama
Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012 7:30 PM CDT
Viper Alley, Lincolnshire, IL
18 years and over
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John Mayall was born on the 29th of November 1933 and grew up in a village not too far from Manchester, England. It was here as a teenager that he first became attracted to the jazz and blues 78s in his father's record collection. Initially it was all about guitarists such as Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson, Brownie McGhee, Josh White and Leadbelly. However once he heard the sounds of boogie woogie giants Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis, his desire to play was all he could think of. At the age of 14 when he went to Manchester's Junior School of Art, he had access to a piano for the first time and he began to learn the basics of this exciting music. He also found time to continue learning the guitar and a couple of years later, the harmonica, inspired by Sonny Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter.
After his two years at art school, he joined the art department of a major department store while starting to build up his own record collection that was to be his source of inspiration to play the blues. At age eighteen when he was due for National Service he spent three years in the Royal Engineers as an office clerk in the south of England and in Korea all the time playing whenever he got a chance. As no-one seemed to be interested in this type of music, John felt pretty much of an outsider throughout his twenties until 1962 when the news broke in the Melody Maker that Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies had opened a club in Ealing devoted to blues music. After Britain's ten year traditional jazz boom had about run its course, a new generation was ready for something new. Out came the amplifiers, guitars and harmonicas and out came young enthusiasts from all over the country eager to sit in and form their own groups.
This was all the encouragement thirty-year old John needed and, giving up his graphic design job, he moved from Manchester to London and began putting musicians together under the banner of The Bluesbreakers. Although things were rough at first, the music quickly took off thanks to the popularity of the Rolling Stones, Georgie Fame, Manfred Mann, The Animals and Spencer Davis with a young Steve Winwood. John also backed blues greats John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, and Sonny Boy Williamson on their first English club tours.
After a couple of years and many personnel changes, Eric Clapton quit the Yardbirds and John quickly offered him the job as his new guitarist. Although John had previously released a couple of singles and a live LP for Decca, the now classic collaboration between Eric and John resulted in the all time best selling classic 'John Mayall's Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton'. However by the time it was entering the charts, he and bassist Jack Bruce had left to form Cream. So began a succession of future stars who would define their roots under John's leadership before leaving to form their own groups. Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood became Fleetwood Mac. Andy Fraser formed Free, and Mick Taylor joined the Rolling Stones.