John Mayall had no goal other than "to make a normal blues album" with "A Special Life," his first studio album in five years. Which is what the veteran artist and bandleader has done over the course of his 51-year recording career.
"Any time I make an album, I'm going to do something of my own, always do an update of where I've been -- the songs or the subject matter -- and just go from there," Mayall tells Billboard. "I can't think of anything else that I might be doing. Once I got started in the business, so to speak, it kind of took care if itself and there wasn't any other choice. Fortunately, music is one of those things that it doesn't matter what your age is; as long as you're physically capable of performing, then of course that's the way to go. And if you start adding it up, after 50 years, it's obviously quite a career."
Mayall recorded "A Special Life," his first release for Forty Below Records, during a three-day session with his band during November at Entourage Studios in North Hollywood. It features four originals -- one written by band members Greg Rzab and Rocky Athas -- plus covers of songs by Jimmy Rogers, Albert King, Sonny Landreth and others. Mayall's band is also bolstered by accordionist C.J. Chenier on several tracks, including a version of his father Clifton Chenier's "Why Did You Go Last Night" that kicks off the album. Listen to it below: