John Mayall – Picture On The Wall

Review of “Picture On The Wall” by John Mayall: A Blues Masterpiece

The B-side to a John Mayall single released in February of 1968, this number often seems over-looked in discussions of Green’s session work.

Green recorded two songs over two days with John Mayall on December 04 and 05 1967. The first song, ‘Jenny’ was produced by Mayall and featured just Mayall and Green. On the second day, Mike Vernon was in the studio with them along with Keef Hartley on drums.

The limited instrumentation has the welcome effect of allowing Mayall to sing comfortably within his limited range.

Interestingly, Green is playing a National resonator guitar (borrowed from Jeremy Spencer). I believe that this is the first recording of Green playing a National.

In this setting, Green must mute the instrument’s natural power to insure that it does not dominate the number and Mayall’s voice.

Green finds just the right balance, providing a tonic to the number’s inborn gloom. The steel strings shimmer and rattle appealingly, creating a joyous noise and he picks out bright single notes which fill the air like blossoms blown from the boughs of a tree; beautiful, yet tinged with melancholy, as the tree is striped bare, perfectly fitting for the story being told.

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