"He was a big man from Texas, he played an even bigger guitar/He was the king of the Kings, born to be a superstar" King of the Kings (Mayall)
Of all the great blues musicians who influenced John Mayall at the start of his career, there is one for whom he maintains a special regard and lasting affection.
"The Bluesbreakers have been associated with the music of Freddie King right from the beginning," Mayall says. "So it was a logical step for the band to record an album of songs written by him or closely associated with him."
That album, In The Palace of the King, is Mayall's 56th official release, and in a recording career defined by consistent excellence in his choice of material - whether it be his own compositions or his interpretations of other people's - it is already being talked about as one of Mayall's very best collections.
The elder statesman of British blues, John Mayall has been a noted bandleader, mentor, and performer since the '60's. During those early days, his band, the Bluesbreakers, saw a remarkable succession of guitarists who honed their chops with Mayall, including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor. By providing a context in which to play Chicago-style electric blues, Mayall has always been adept in bringing out the best in his bandmates, writing most of his own material and experimenting within a basic blues format.
Mayall recorded his debut single in early 1964 and his first album by the end of the same year. With a frequently changing cast of characters, the Bluesbreakers' popularity continued into the '70's, particularly in the U.S. In 1982, Mayall, along with Mick Taylor and John McVie, reformed the original Bluesbreakers for a couple of tours and a video concert film, entitled 'Blues Alive' featuring Albert King, Buddy Guy, Etta James, and Junior Wells, among others.