Features 14 tracks including "Southside Story", "Pride and Faith" and "Dirty Water".
John Mayall may be the hardest-working man in blues today. Stories is his 52nd release, and the first track, "Southside Story," shows he's working just as hard as ever. Mayall says that he didn't even receive the song until he was in the studio, but you'd never guess by listening. "Southside Story" establishes a mood within the first eight bars, setting the tone for the rest of Stories. The title is apt; for this release, Mayall focuses on the storytelling aspect of the music, and each song is a window into a larger world. In this respect, Mayall does best with the more straightforward material, such as "Dirty Water" and especially his own "Mists of Time," the anthemic blues ballad that closes the album. His paean to the younger generation, "Kids Got the Blues," is most welcome, as it recognizes that there is a younger generation of blues musicians and listeners keeping the music alive. Regrettably, "Pride and Faith" doesn't work quite as well, though Mayall's heart is definitely in the right place. Overall, though, Stories is a solid addition to Mayall's body of work, with a good selection of material and strong performances all around. "i"--Genevieve Williams