I had this great guitar teacher in the 70’s who was a Berkley School graduate named Steve Antonelli in New York City. We found his advertisement on the posted wall in the A&P Supermarket on 86th Street. He used to come to my apartment every week to give me lessons and one of the must have records he recommended was John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, the one with Eric Clapton reading a Beano magazine on the cover.
Of course, being an anxious teenager wanting to learn all about the guitar, I ran out to Musical Maze down the street and bought the album. Once I dropped the needle on “Steppin’ Out” I was memorized by the overall performance and tone that Clapton possessed. Armed with just a Gibson Les Paul and a Marshall JTM 45 combo amp, he killed it!
Those wonderful expressive blues licks tell such an intriguing story in the short span of 2:26 minutes. The terrific opening lick sets up the entire story of the song accented with horns and the searing harmonica solo of John Mayall. In Clapton’s solo there is a distinct fore telling of things to come for his future band Cream. This is my absolute favorite period for Eric, he is on fire in the 60’s starting with the Yardbirds but seemingly dissipates by 1970 with Derek and the Dominos.
Steppin’ Out is a complete verified gem and every guitarist should have this on their required listening list, whether a blues player or not. It is also a great example of a well-rehearsed live band with great improvisational skills with musicians that listen to each other.
You can learn more about John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers here
About the Curator: Brian Tarquin
Multi Emmy Award winning Brian Tarquin is an established top rate composer/guitarist. He has won 3 Emmy's for “Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series” and has been nominated for an Emmy 6 times. In 2019 Tarquin received a Global Music Gold Award for his release Orlando In Heaven for “Best Album.” Three years in a row (2016-2019) Tarquin received “Best Album of the Year” nominations from the Independent Music Awards for his releases: Guitars for Wounded Warriors, Orlando in Heaven, and Guitars for Veterans. On which, Tarquin shows his guitar prowess alongside such world-class shredders as: Steve Morse, Larry Coryell, Billy Sheehan, Bumblefoot (Guns N’ Roses), Reb Beach (Whitesnake), Chuck Loeb (FourPlay) to name a few. In 2006 SESAC honored him with the Network Television Performance Award. Tarquin has graced the Top Billboard Charts with such commercial releases as: This is Acid Jazz, Vol. 2, Sweet Emotions, and Bossa Brava: Caliente on Instinct Records, followed by several solo jazz albums, which charted Top 10 at Smooth Jazz Radio R&R and Gavin charts. Brian has appeared on 38 releases, selling over 140,000 records in his career.