Most helpful positive review
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Gone but not forgotten
on March 14, 2000
Not surprising that no one has reviewed this; I was more than mildly surprised to find that it's still in print. While many listeners rated "Bare Wires" as most representative of an undeservedly ignored Mayall work, I feel this is a much better candidate. "Crusade" is a straight-ahead tribute to some of Mayall's blues heroes, and he pays them a fittingly respectful musical tribute. "Crusade" is much better than "Bare Wires," "Blues from Laurel Canyon" and other Mayall releases of that ilk because it sticks to the blues and is blessedly free of some of the truly awful autobiographical lyrics that John was capable of penning. When he does contribute an original, it fits with the theme of the album, as in the affecting "Death of J.B. Lenoir," a sorrowful lament for one of Mayall's blues inspirations.
Other highlights include "My Time after Awhile," which shows that Mayall's vocals, acquired taste though they may be, can in the right circumstances capture the power of a blues lyric. "Snowy Wood" features some fine blues guitar from Mick Taylor, who was soon to depart for Rolling Stones glitz, but who showed he could play some good blues licks when properly motivated. "Oh, Pretty Woman" won't make you forget Albert King, but Mayall doesn't do the tune an injustice either, and Taylor again contributes some tight guitar work.
In fact, the whole album benefits from a strong hand in the choice of material. It has a fine, smoldering flavor that reflects Mayall's love of the material.
Great album? No. Worth having in a blues collection? I'd say so. The test of the blues for me is the respect the artist shows for the material and the genuine feeling that he or she is able to wrest from it. By these standards, "Crusade," Mayall and his bandmates pass the test.