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John Mayall: Oh, Pretty Woman

The above, which features Mick Taylor, was recorded at John Mayall’s 70th birthday concert in 2003. It’s not the Roy Orbison song.

Mayall is a unique and vital figure in the history of rock-and-roll. He worked with and influenced many of the great guitarists, including Eric Clapton and Taylor, who preceded Ronnie Wood in the Rolling Stones. Indeed, Mayall’s bio reads like a history of rock guitar. As usual, allmusic provides an insightful and thorough overview.

There is a lot of good video available for John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Here are “Walking on Sunset,”Β a nice tune without a title and “Hideaway,” featuring Clapton. The video has interesting photographs. The current band — which is not called the Bluesbreakers — essentially is on an endless tour, which is amazing considering that Mayall is 78 years old.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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