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Forgotten Music Friday – John Mayall – Chicago Line


So a few weeks ago as I was researching for a post about Walter Trout’s latest album Common Ground ,I discovered or rediscovered that Walter had played on John Mayall‘s 1988 release Chicago Line. I say rediscovered because I probably knew in 1988 that Walter played on the album, but by the time I listened to Walter’s solo albums a few years ago, it was something I didn’t remember! Anyway I went to the CD shelf and pulled out Chicago Line and listened to it. I haven’t listened to it for a while because it currently is not on the iPod. It was ripped a long time ago and now resides on one of the external hard drives that think it is a CD drive!

Chicago Line was an old time John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers type album like the albums when Eric Clapton and Peter Green were the guitarists. This time the lead guitar duties were shared by Coco Montoya and the aforementioned Walter Trout. Coco has the first lead guitar solo on the opening track “Chicago Line” a great number to open the album! On the second track “Gimme One More Day” John shares guitar with Coco. On the third track “One Life to Live” about John’s experiences in the Korean War. Walter takes over lead guitar duty.  On the cover of Jimmy Rogers’ “The Last Time” Coco takes the first solo and Walter the second. Track 5 “Dream About the Blues” Coco plays lead and Walter provides rhythm and harmonica. Walter takes the 1st solo on “Fascinating Lover” and Coco the 2nd. On one my favorite tracks “Cold Blooded Mama” Coco plays lead and Walter provides finger picking and rhythm guitars. On “The Dirty Dozens” they share guitar duties with Coco in the lead spot on the next track “Tears Came Rolling Down”. The closing track is a Walter Trout tune “Life in the Jungle” (I used a video of Walter’s version of the song on the Common Ground post) which sounds a little different than Walter’s version!

Overall it was a great listen to a really good Mayall album with the overall strength of the album coming from the guitars of Coco Montoya and Walter Trout! I must confess that I haven’t listened to much from John since his 2005 release Road Dogs. I see that his latest album Tough is his 57th album and his band is now composed of Rocky Athas on guitar, Greg Rzab on bass, and Jay Davenport on drums. Guess I have to check it out! Oh, and by the way Chicago Line is now on the iPod! And while it doesn’t make any difference to you it does to me!

Here’s a Mayall performance of “One Life to Live” with Walter on lead and Coco playing rhythm and drinking! Filmed at Iowa State in 1987.