BBC Session w/ JM & the BBs on 01 / 23 / 67 Part 2

As mentioned in Part 1, ‘Sitting in the Rain’ and ‘Ridin’ on the L & N’ were the first ones out of the vault, appearing on the Invasion Unlimited collection back in 1993.

Green fans were most likely unaware of their release at that time as they were part of a Cream bootleg ( ! ), “Steppin’ Out – Radio Sessions 1966 – 68”.  The two numbers were listed as “bonus tracks” along with ‘I’m Your Witchdoctor’ and two (apparently incomplete) live recordings said to be Clapton, possibly with the Bluesbreakers, at the Mojo Club, all listed as having been recorded “…during 1965”.

The same two tracks, along with ‘Leaping Christine’ resurfaced seven years later (and properly credited to the Green era Bluesbreakers) on the John Mayall bootleg “The First Five Years”.  The collection was also the first (to my knowledge) to also feature that sessions performance of ‘Curly’.

Another six years would pass before the first three songs would see an official release, as bonus tracks on the 2006 reissue of “A Hard Road” (U.K. and Europe only).

The same three songs also appeared, a year later, on “John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers Live at the BBC”.

The drop in sound quality on ‘Curly’ and the fact that it still has yet to see an official release would seem to indicate that it was not in fact taken from an Overseas Transcription Service disc.

When I finally heard ‘Dust My Blues’ (the last song that I wrote up for these volumes) I was thrilled to have all of the songs listed in the Programme Log accounted for.

But, (there is always a “but”) the two Decca releases mentioned above include yet another, previously unlisted song under the January twenty-third session date, Mayall’s solo number ‘No More Tears’.

The idea that both, ‘Top of the Hill’ and ‘No More Tears’ were somehow inadvertently left off the log sheet that day seems one coincidence too many.

The more likely explanation is that ‘No More Tears’ comes from a second, previously undocumented BBC session.  Christopher Hjort was the first, and to my knowledge, the only person to write of a four song session done for Alexis Korner’s “Rhythm & Blues” program on February third.

Among the titles performed that day were ‘No More Tears’ and ‘Curly’, and while Hjort claims that all the recordings have been lost to time, we do have a second version of ‘Curly’ and now, the higher quality recording of ‘No More Tears’.  The latter must have been a relatively recent discovery as it had never appeared on any Mayall bootlegs prior to its official release.

Which brings us back to ‘Top of the Hill’.

The simplest solution is that it is actually the February third performance of ‘No More Tears’ under the wrong title.  Or even a mistitled ‘Leaping Christine’ from the twenty-third.

If anyone has any information regarding this performance (let alone an actually recording!) please share with us what you know.


  • comment-avatar
    ash February 23, 2017 (9:44 am)

    Rich, i was given a cd of Mayall BBC sessions which included Top Of The Hill with this Saturday Club session. It was the regular studio version. Maybe the record was played on an edition of Saturday Club but I’m convinced it was not recorded for this BBC session

    • comment-avatar
      Rich Orlando March 1, 2017 (11:09 pm)

      Thanks for that. The BBC Session Logs are not always the most accurate. Based on what you have said, I think it fair to say that you are right. The song was “played” on the show, but not live, by the band.
      I feel it safe to say that this particular case can be closed.