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Peter Green and the London years

The ultimate blues years

John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Featuring Peter Green

All photos taken by bluesmate John Slade

London 1967.

A quick look at the gig guide of Melody Maker or NME could give you serious trouble.Within a few square miles you had to choose between Eric Clapton, then playing with Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience or Peter Green who was guitarist with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers at the time.

However when you missed one of those guys on Wednesday you could easily visit them on Thursday as they played in the area anyway. It all happened in the London’s mighty club circuit that had places like the Marquee, the Manor House or Klooks Kleek .

Tom Huissen, a 16 year old boy who had swapped the quiet life of a Dutch province town for the mad making turmoil of the West End, bumped literary into this world of wailing Gibson Les Pauls and Marshall stacks.

His big love became John Mayall's Bluesbreakers who apart from John on vocals, harmonica, Hammond organ and all kind of weird guitars, consisted of Peter Green on lead guitar, John McVie on bass and Mick Fleetwood on drums.

After seeing the Bluesbreakers a couple of times Tom decided to cut short on food and alcohol supplies in order to purchase a little Sanyo reel to reel tape recorder and a couple of tapes. From that moment he taped the band wherever and whenever he could, becoming friends with John Mayall and Peter Green in the process.

In those days the Bluesbreakers' repertoire consisted for the greater part of songs that can be found on legendary albums like 'A hard road', 'Crusade' and 'The blues alone'. However the live performances of well known songs like 'Someday after a while, 'The Stumble' or 'So many roads' are a completely different kettle of fish compared to the records. John Mayall has always been one to push his guys to the front and give them room to move. Peter Green, a 20 year old bloke from London's East End, took his chances and made his predecessor Eric Clapton forget within a couple of weeks.

These live tapes show you why. Here is 'Greeny' at his best.

Greeny's superb guitarwork, John McVie's best bitter driven bass lines and Mick Fleetwood's tight drums makes it easy to understand why this embryonic Fleetwood Mac would rise to world fame some 15 months later.

After more than 48 years a compilation of these tapes is released for the first time by John Mayall on Forty Below Records. Go to Amazon.UK and order this fantastic CD.

The result is a unique document of a band in the midst of the bluesboom playing the numerous London clubs. Of course this was all before the mega concerts and mighty PA systems of today. Also don't look for the word 'stereo' on the CD-cover. They were simply recorded mono with a small mike. But despite an occasional dropout , the sound is incredible and it's hard to belive that these historic recordings are over thirty years old.

Play the cd and go back to the London bluesboom in the late sixties. Visit or revisit, if you like, the bluesclubs from those days, some of them since long forgotten, and feel the atmosphere.

Good thing Tom lived there at the time, eh?

Liner notes: Frans ten Kleij (Mr. French), bluesguitarist with 'John the Revelator'.


Rock star who turned his back on a million
(click here for download)


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Photo album Peter Green and the London years

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