BBC Session w/ JM & the BBs 01 / 23 / 67 Part 1

John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers

BBC session, “Saturday Club” January 23, 1967 

Available on: John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers Live at the BBC (Decca 2007)

except* available on: John Mayall – The First Five Yearsbootleg

**availability uncertain

 

Leaping Christine (J. Mayall) (1:54)

Sitting in the Rain (J. Mayall) (2:51)

Ridin’ On the L & N (Lionel Hampton) (2:20)

Curly* (P. Green) (2:50)

Dust My Blues** (incomplete) (Elmore James) (2:01)

(possibly) Top of the Hill (J. Mayall)

This is the first, and unfortunately, not the last, BBC session where we have contradictory accounts of the songs that may have been performed.

The “official” record, the Programme Logs from the BBC Archives, list five songs as having been recorded that day: ‘Leaping Christine’, ‘Sitting in the Rain’, ‘Curly’, ‘Ridin’ on the L & N’ and ‘Dust My Blues’.

The sessionography included in Martin Celmins’ Peter Green biography (as one of, if not the first, it remains the primary source for those that followed) also lists five songs, but replaces ‘Leaping Christine’ with ‘Top of the Hill’.

Christopher Hjort lists all six songs and then goes on to say that four of them, the exceptions being ‘Dust My Blues’ and ‘Top of the Hill’, were given to the BBC Overseas Transcription Service for duplication.

In the Celmins’ sessionography, the label names and matrix numbers of the records the songs were first released on appear in parentheses after the song titles.  The entry for this session though is unique in that while showing that ‘Sitting in the Rain’ and ‘Ridin’ on the L & N’ first appeared on an Invasion Unlimited collection, the other three titles bear the designation “on bootleg”.

No other performances listed in the sessionography bear this distinction; seeming to distinguish these three tracks from all of the other listings for “bootleg” releases; not only the first two titles from this session but all of those on released on labels such as Koine, Moby Dick and Early Years.

The majority of the “officially” released BBC performances, as well as those on bootleg, come to us from those Overseas Transcription Service discs, the original tapes having been reused or discarded over the years.

This seems to explain the wide availability of the first three songs.

In Part 2, we’ll dig a little deeper into how and when the performances from this session were released.

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