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Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom Paperback – February 9, 2007

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About the Author

Christopher Hjort is a rock historian who combines a love for popular music with an interest in typography and graphic design. He has written record reviews and artist profiles for music magazines and together with noted American researcher Doug Hinman published an acclaimed chronology of Jeff Becks career, Jeffs Book.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Jawbone Press (February 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906002002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906002008
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,174,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher Hjort (born 1958) is a rock researcher and historian who combines a love for popular music with an interest in typography and graphic design. Hjort has also worked as a semi-professional guitarist, and toured and recorded two albums with Norway's first cajun and zydeco group, Bygg Band. The group's second album was recorded in Crawley, Louisiana, in 1984, together with cajun and zydeco legends Link Davis Jr. (sax), Michael Doucet (fiddle), and Cleveland Chenier (rub board). Hjort lives in Oslo, Norway, where he collects literature on popular music and guitars and works as a communication advisor. In 2009, his book on "So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day, 1965-1973" was awarded a Certificates of Merit for the 2009 Association For Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence In Historical Recorded Sound Research.

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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Samuel B. King on March 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm not kidding with this title (well, maybe half-kidding). Like the Bible is, in some ways, the history of the Hebrew people, this book is a veritible day-by day document of the activities of Slowhand (God), John Mayall (Father), Peter Green (Green God) and Mick Taylor (Younger brother of God). I'll admit to being at first a bit put off about the calendar style of writing, but you easily sink into the format. Its all here. The story of British Blues as seen through the eyes of the greatest British guitarists of their generation. You will learn obscure details, such as set lists, equipment played and what went on in the recording studios. The formidible impact of Clapton on British music and blues in general is clearly illustrated here. Also, I was not aware that Paul Butterfield played gigs with Mayall during their tour there, or the fact that Bloomfield and Clapton connected in Britain prior to Clapton's visits to the U.S. The detailed info on the Beano, Hard Road and Crusade Mayall albums is worth the cost of the book alone (If this sounds like so-much guitar mumbo jumbo, celebrate, because it is!!!!! Those of you who are into this stuff will have a huge ball!!). The performance reviews are both insightful and at times extremely humorous. For instance, one review reports that all members of Cream, during an early gig, were so high that they got stuck in the "Cat's Squirrel" riff loop and it took them 15 minutes to find their way out of it. (:-). Beyond the detail, this book provides a clear picture of the British blues scene, specifically that scene revolving around John Mayall and his allumni. Mayall, in fact, provides the intro. The period covered runs from Clapton's membership in the Yardbirds through Derek and the Dominoes in the early '70s.Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Strange Brew: Eric Clapton & The British Blues Bloom" by rock historian Christopher Hjort is a history of the 1960s British blues music boom in general, and Eric Clapton's stellar music career from 1965 to 1970 in particular. "Strange Brew covers hundreds of gigs, radio and television appearances, recording sessions, discographical information, trivia, contemporary reviews, and first-hand accounts and recollections from ex-band members and fans. Some of the stories will be new information for even the most dedicated Clapton fan, such as the comprehensive account of Clapton's Greek odyssey in 1965 (including the true story of The Glands and Greek band The Juniors, as well as fresh information about John Mayall's recording with Bob Dylan). Here presented in a day-by-day format laced with photographs and memorabilia, the way the musicians behind the British Blues worked together, influenced each other, and helped each other to ever greater musical accomplishments. "Strange Brew" is essential reading for Clapton fans, British Blues music enthusiasts, and academic library 20th Century Music History reference collections.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Cormany on September 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
Definitive hardly does this book justice. Authoritative, doesn't do it. The sheer amount of research author Hjort did on this labor of love really is mind boggling. He probably knows what each of these guys had for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day from '67 to '70. Being a Mick Taylor fanatic with my love for Peter Green running just shy of that, I was so delighted to find a book devoted to them and Clapton it was days before I realized what you learn reading this book. There's tech stuff for us players, lists of gigs, record sessions and tv appearances for the completists and a bit of gossip here and there for all of us. But his finest feat is making the reader feel he is there at the beginning of a blues scene made up of skinny white Brit kids that 3 years later was the basis for much of the most vital rock music ever made. This time telling the story as it went through Mayall's Bluesbreakers and those 3 incredible guitar players he hired in a row. I'm not sure who came after these 3 but I'm glad it wasn't me. I still consider Taylor and Green to be deities, way too overlooked and underappreciated, but Taylor especially enhances every project he's been a part of and I can listen to him play slide all day long. This is an incredible look at what it must be like to be a child prodigy, playing world class blues at 15, in arguably the best blues band in England at 17 and asked to join the Stones at 20. And there's just as much or more on Clapton and Green; looking back it seems incredible that these 3 virtuoso musicians emerged in a country with no blues tradition or players to look up to or learn from in their early guitar years. If you're a fan of blues, guitar,the 60s, London or any of the 4 principles of this story, I urge you to treat yourself to this book. You won't be sorry.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Glen Anderson on May 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great collection of tour dates and band interviews of all the bands that were emerging in London during the early sixties. The author does a great job of weaving it all together and this is a great edition to anyone's library of this period. Some great photos of the Bluesbreakers and all London players and club scene.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Dion on September 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Full disclosure: I am a guitar geek. I was the guy at sock hops who'd sit by the record player, not dancing, reading the liner notes (remember those?), and dreaming of stardom.
What Christopher Hjort has accomplished with this volume is nothing less than amazing - a day-by-day accounting of concerts, club gigs, recording sessions, photo sessions, BBC broadcasts and even informal rehearsals by the movers and shakers of the blossoming British Blues scene. For the five years covered in this book, the careers of John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor (and pretty much anyone who came within five feet of an amplifier or microphone stand) are tracked in exquisite detail. The painstaking research is rewarding to anyone interested in the early days of groups like Fleetwood Mac, Cream and The Rolling Stones, and the cameos by Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix are the icing on the cake.
Great rare photos, detailed equipment lists, and Mr. Hjort's own recommendations for those wishing to hear the music described therein, this book is a keeper. I may have to get another one for lending out.
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