How Clapton’s “Beano” Album Will Dramatically Improve your Guitar Skill

In an interview with Louis Armstrong, the great Jazz innovator and trumpet powerhouse, was once asked “what is Jazz”?

His answer was amusing enough but actually was quite profound.

He responded “if you gotta ask you ain’t never gonna know”.

That begs the question “so how can we know what Jazz or any other style of music (eg Blues) is?

The answer has to be – do a lot of listening!

That’s why as we worked on Blues Solo 3 I recommended that you listen to Eric Clapton’s playing on John Mayall’s “Beano” album.

So now as we start work on Blues Solo 4 I have another Bluesbreakers album that I’d like to recommend.

Why You Must Listen to Bluesbreakers “Hard Road”

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers next album was to be “Hard Road” and is another British Blues classic.

Soon after recording the “Beano” album, Clapton left the band which gave Mayall the dilemma of finding a replacement for him.

Mayall was to strike gold, however, with the young East End Londoner “Peter Green” who put in a stella performance.

Hard Road is a treasure trove of licks for any guitar player and while some of the songs may not have dated well, Peter’s soloing is timeless and a master class in how to construct a solo.

“If you gotta ask, you ain’t never gonna know

Louis Armstong

There are 2 gems on “Hard Road” – both instrumentals “The Stumble” which is a Freddy King tune that Peter Green made into a Blues masterpiece.

Then the Peter Green composition “The Supernatural” which could just be where Carlos Santana got his sound.

We know that Peter Green had a big influence on Santana in fact “Black Magic Woman”, which is one of the Santana’s signature songs, was was actually written by Peter Green.

Hard road was the only Bluesbreakers album that featured Peter Green and it’s an interesting story how Green was to leave the band.

This Is How Fleetwood Mac Name Was Born…

John Mayall gave Peter Green a generous present for his birthday, he paid for studio time so that Green could record some songs as a trio with the bands bass player, John Mcvie, and its drummer, Mick Fleetwood.

The producer, Mike Vernon, instantly saw the potential of these guys as a band so at his instigation they were offered a record deal so this time John Mayall lost his whole band.

When it came to adopting a name, Peter Green was clearly the star but he didn’t want his name put forward so he came up with the idea of naming the band after the other two, hence “Mack” for Mcvie and Mick Fleetwood so – Fleetwood Mac and that’s how one of the world’s biggest bands got started.

Mick Fleetwood and John Mcvie

After a few short years Peter Green was to leave the band and the girls moved in which saw Fleetwood Mack take a different direction but in so many ways it really exemplifies the evolution of 60’s Blues into the 70’s pop & rock.

Apart from the “Hard Road” album I’d like to recommend two other recordings.

Peter Green’s “Need Your Live So Bad” was a class act, lots of great licks, and his instrumental composition “Albatross” which is a very unique tune, very atmospheric.

Dig Into Blues Solo No.4!

Blues Solo 4 is a lot of fun to learn and as you accomplish it then practice it with the previous three you’ll get a good feel for how to put a short lick, or musical phrase, into a Blues which will help develop your improvising skills so get to work.

It’s in the key of A, has a couple of bending licks and you’ll need to count through the rests and long notes.

See you on the next one