Top Artists – John Mayall

John Mayall – Empty Rooms


A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

With only keyboards, guitars, saxes and flutes — the absence of a drummer is especially noteworthy — the group creates a mystical, low-key atmosphere in the studio within which JM tells his stories. In other words, it’s different. When it comes to John Mayall’s recorded works, that’s not a bad thing. 

We’ve auditioned a good dozen or more of his albums over the years, most of which we found interesting but not especially compelling (not at our prices anyway). He averaged about two albums a year through the ’60s and ’70s and on most of the ones we’ve played it seems that he struggled to come up with material good enough to fill them all.

That said, we took a liking to this one and proudly offer it here for the first time.

Side One

Excellent energy and vocal presence. Clear and full, with good lots of studio space.

The second and third tracks tended to sound better to us than the first by the way.

Side Two

Natural and balanced, with rich and tubey 1970 sound. The second track is especially Tubey Magical and smooth in the right way. (more…)

Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee – Sonny and Brownie – Our Shootout Winner from 2013


A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame. 

SUPERB A+++ DEMO DISC SOUND and DEAD QUIET VINYL on both sides of this A & M pressing! What a record! I’d be willing to bet my bottom dollar that you couldn’t find ANY version of this music that sounded better than this. The sound is RIGHT ON THE MONEY from top to bottom, start to finish. The immediacy, clarity and transparency are OFF THE CHARTS — this record puts a killer blues jam right there in your living room!

The sound is as close to perfection as I imagine any copy of this record is ever going to get. (The music, by the way, is SUPERB. Great covers of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” and Randy Newman’s “Sail Away” are among the highlights.) (more…)

John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers – A Hard Road


  • With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy was one of the best we played in our recent shootout – reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • Forget the dubby domestic pressings and whatever crappy Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – these early UK stereo LPs are the only way to fly
  • “Eric Clapton is usually thought of as John Mayall’s most important right-hand man, but the case could also be made for his successor, Peter Green. The future Fleetwood Mac founder leaves a strong stamp on his only album with the Bluesbreakers, singing a few tracks and writing a couple, including the devastating instrumental “Supernatural.” – All Music

This vintage Decca import pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)

John Mayall with Eric Clapton – Blues Breakers

More John Mayall

More Blues Breakers


  • Two outstanding sides for what gets our vote as John Mayall’s best album – with Double to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound throughout, just shy of our shootout winner
  • Richer, smooth and livelier than practically any copy we heard, with Tubey Magic and space you won’t believe
  • The British Decca vinyl on this amazing pressing is about as quiet as we ever expect to find for this album
  • 5 stars on Allmusic: “Bluesbreakers was Eric Clapton’s first fully realized album as a blues guitarist — more than that, it was a seminal blues album of the 1960s, perhaps the best British blues album ever cut, and the best LP ever recorded by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.”

This copy is guaranteed to be DRAMATICALLY superior to most British and all domestic pressings, the MoFi Gold CD and every other version that you’ve ever played. This is it folks! They cut this one right. It sounds the way you always wished it would sound. (more…)

John Mayall – The Turning Point – A Surprisingly Good Later Mayall Album

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More The Turning Point


  • An excellent sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • This is a superb recording, something that cannot be said for most of Mayall’s output from this period (and none of his later albums in our experience)
  • More importantly, this is some of the best music we have ever heard from the man – this is a uniquely special group effort
  • 4 1/2 Stars: “This album also signifies a distinct departure from the decibel-drowning electrified offerings of his previous efforts, providing instead an exceedingly more folk- and roots-based confab… [Jon] Mark’s precision and tasteful improvisational skills [on acoustic guitar] place this incarnation into heady spaces.”