Mayall’s Masterpiece: “Blues from Laurel Canyon” (1968)

An blues legend-outsider’s 1967-8 musical impression of Los Angeles–Mayall’s new home back then. Many cultural references: “Sunset” is Sunset Blvd. “Mothers” were the Mothers of Invention. “Moon” was Keith Moon, The Who’s drummer. “The Bear” was a member of Canned Heat–a group referenced.

12 songs; 48 minutes of blues bliss. Recorded in August and released in November, 1968.

Mayall’s amazing back-up band:

Mick Taylor: 17 year-old guitar/Hawaiian guitar phenom; later stolen by The Rolling Stones

Stephen Thompson: 18 year-old bass player

Colin Allen: drums and tabla

(I was incredibly lucky to see them at UMSU, Winnipeg, in January 1969 on their North American tour. They performed many of the album cuts.)



Ten hours in a plane – England left behind
Back here in LA – Wonder what I’ll find
Summertime, my plane is coming down
I’m a wandering man and this is gonna be my town.

Walking On Sunset

Watching all the people like the waves along the shore.
They hang around he whiskey and every open store.

I’m walking on Sunset–
I’ll never reach the end.
I’m walking on Sunset
Everything is like a friend

All the pretty women, never seen a better crop.
Music all around–the flashing lights that never stop

I’m walking on Sunset–
I never reach the end.
I’m walking on Sunset
Everything is like a friend.

Standing on the corner watching every kind of car.
Friendly people come and say they want to know your star.

I’m walking on Sunset–
l never reach the end.
I’m walking on Sunset–
Everything is like a friend.

The cops are in the cars but they never bothered me–
A new magic world where I never felt so free.

I’m walking on Sunset–
I never reach the end
I’m walking on Sunset
Everything is like a friend.

Laurel Canyon Home

Each and every morning
When the sun is high
I hunt around the Canyon
Till I find a place to lie

Oh, oh, it’s so beautiful to be alone
Got the sun and trees and silence
I’m in my Laurel Canyon home

Looking back a century
I look at where I stand
It must have looked the same as when
Apaches roamed the land

Now the sun is sinking
It’s time to reminisce
Here’s a way of living
That I will sorely miss


There’s a hero living at 2401
and all around–
A family circus in the sun.
Got his Mothers working
While you’re having fun…
Trying to change the system,
Many things that must be done.

Where did Moon go?
Better call a GTO
In the red room,
Pam is planning where to go
Gail and Pauline,
Who is prowling round your door?
A maniac, The Raven
Could he have his gun back? No!

2401–got myself a place to stay.
On the railroad, Kansas nearer every day.
Miss Christine cooking,
Looking very gay.
How do you say a Thank You?
How do you ever tear yourself away?

Ready To Ride

I’ve waited a long time
To get my loving done.
There’s so much beauty around here,
I’m bound to find me one.

I said, “Baby–
Don’t you run, you can’t hide.
My love is boiling over
‘Cos right now I’m ready to ride.”

Took me one week to find her–
We danced a special way.
She got me so excited
That I couldn’t walk away!

Love all night till the morning,
She nearly wrecked my mind.
She’s got to be the best lover
A man could ever hope to find.

Medicine Man

I had a bit of bad luck–
Something I would never plan.
Got a little trouble.
Help me any way you can.
I’m out of circulation                                                                                                                           So take me to your medicine man.

Loving is a gamble,
Never knowing who to choose
Find yourself a winner,
Then you find you picked to lose

Now I’ve gone and lost
And I don’t want no ‘told you so’s’.
Maybe you were lucky–
Funny, that’s the way it goes.

Somebody’s Acting Like A Child

Just a silly kind of quarrel when we made each other wild
Maybe both of us were wrong but somebody’s acting like a child.

You shouldn’t have been so selfish–
I shouldn’t have walked out.
It makes you kind of wonder what love is all about.

Now I’ve gone and lost my feelings ever since you got me riled.
Maybe we should talk it over — Somebody’s acting like a child

The Bear

I’ve been living with the Bear in a big house full of blues.
Going back through the years, hear any record you choose.

The sun is shining down and the Bear is rolling in the shade.

Everybody is gonna boogie, blues roll night and day.
Turn on all of the people who got no place to stay.

All the men of Canned Heat are part of my family.
I’m gonna remember the things they did for me.
I got to be moving, they call me Wandering John
I’ll see you, old Bear, I’ll be back ‘fore long…

Miss James

I read about her in a magazine–
The writer painted her in colors of a queen.
Other people said bad things instead,
So I was curious to check out what I’d read
But asking around she couldn’t be found                                                                                      Strange, elusive Miss James!

Two weeks later I was down the Shrine.
Saw a pretty girl who would suit me fine.
Rushing around we forgot to trade names–
I didn’t connect her with the one I called Miss James.
I was surprised when I realized                                                                                                        The two were one and the same!
I had the phone company give her number to me.
I called her at home–she said she was alone,
Would she see me tonight?                                                                                                             Yeah, that was alright…
(segues into)

First Time Alone

There was nothing like that first time
I was alone with you
And the glow of your eyes told me love–
Sweet perfume in your hair

There was nothing like the way
Time went by as we lay by the fire
And the burning logs flickered flames
That drew us close without a sound

First time I was alone with you
Your bed was so soft with your sweet whispering–
Your fingers explore my burning skin
Gentle as a butterfly

No matter how many things we’ve known together
There will never be such a peace
Like that first time
I was alone with you…

Long Gone Midnight

Long gone midnight and I want my woman so bad.
No use waiting for her. She won’t come, I call that sad.

Long gone midnight and it’s a cold wait till the dawn.
Sometimes love can make you wish that you had never been born.

Long gone midnight and I miss her though she don’t care.
When you’ve just lost your lover there’s nowhere to go–nowhere.

Fly Tomorrow

Got to fly tomorrow–got to pack my gear.
Re-adjust my mind, my time is near.
Fly tomorrow–got to pack up my gear.
Fly tomorrow–now my time is drawing near.

Fly tomorrow–get ready for the change                                                                                   Living back at home be so strange.                                                                                                      Living back at home gonna be so strange.                                                                                     Fly tomorrow–living back home is gonna be strange….

Got to fly tomorrow–got to be goodbye                                                                                           ‘Fore tomorrow’s over, I’ll be in the sky.                                                                                  tomorrow–well it’s got to be goodbye                                                                                             Fly tomorrow–I’ll be way up in the sky                                                                                                       Way up in the sky…way up in the sky                                                                                                  Way up in the sky…way up in the sky                                                                                                  In the sky…in the sky…


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