Compiled by Alan Harvey


PROMOTER: The Australian Entertainment Exchange - “Planet Tour #1”
(the second tour was Manfred Mann's Earth Band)

John Mayall Band
Keef Hartley (drums)
John Mayall (guitar, organ, harmonica, vocals)
Blue Mitchell (trombone)
Freddy Robinson (guitar)
Putter Smith (bass) replacing Larry Taylor
Clifford Sullivan (tenor sax)

Tamam Shud
Gerry Humphries
Co. Caine

2 March 1972 - Melbourne - Festival Hall
Support: Carson, Company Caine

8 March 1972 - Adelaide - (venue unknown)

9 March 1972 - Melbourne - Festival Hall
Support: Carson, Company Caine

11 March 1972 - Brisbane - Festival Hall

12 March 1972 - Sydney - State Theatre

NB: Mayall’s band was reported to have done several university gigs, plus a dance gig at Melbourne’s Q Club (supported by Tamam Shud and Carson) and a private jam at Berties Disco.


On 11 March 1972 Go-Set reported published a report headlined “John Mayall Sellout Tour”. They also revealed that when “… John Mayall and his band flew into Australia this week they caused consternation when no-one could see Larry Taylor the ex-Canned Heat bass player. Larry had been touring America for almost five years now and when he went to get on the plane to come to Australia he just freaked!” Mayall then “rang his friend Putter Smith, an LA session bass player and asked him to take his place.”

Mayall and band then held a press conference at Tullamarine Airport. Asked about the type of music he would play in concert he replied, “I’m confused as to what people want to hear, because people only hear you at intervals, they always remember the music a little behind what you’re playing.”

Go Set concluded saying, “It seems Mayall’s sound in Australia could have a bigger jazz flavor than ever before. As this Mayall’s most recent music it’s pretty sure this is what we’ll hear in Australia.”

Apparently the tour was also have to been filmed as reported in Planet, “John Mayall will make a 20 day concert tour of Australia and New Zealand. A camera crew will cover his day to day activity. From film shoot and sound recorded, a one and a half hour film will be made for showing in America, England and Australia.”

However, not long after Go-Set reported tour management problems when they announced, “The Proprietors of the Regent said they were no longer handling the John Mayall tour. T his means that Mayall will no longer be making his scheduled appearances at the Regent.” Due probably to these changes it was also reported “the film has been scrapped.”

However, these problems did not affect the rock press enthusiasm for the tour when Planet Rock magazine wrote, “John Mayall, the God of Anglo-Saxon blues, sire of supergroups and catalyst of incredibly good music within all kinds of basic blues frameworks, is due to make an extensive tour of this country.” They concluded, “It’s been too long since a talent like John Mayall gave concerts in this country. Like all his performances his Australian one will obviously be a tour-de-force.”


The following reports come from Go-Set reporter Colin James, from several issues:

The headline read, “John Mayall - A Standing Ovation”. The review stated, “Melbourne’s Festival Hall was packed. Co. Caine was first up with their new line-up. They played their songs off the album, Product of a Broken Reality, and every second number was an old rocker of Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry vintage. Next on the bill was Carson, obviously put on there to supplement the blues side of the concert. Carson played most of their normal numbers, with Broderick throwing himself at the audience ... he became more frantic as the concert progressed.”

“After Carson’s incredible set there was an interval while John Mayall’s equipment was set up. Then Mayall. Wow, there he was in shorts, a T-shirt and strapped to his chest a harmonica holder and a microphone. First he introduced the band and then broke into playing all new songs except for the last two numbers of their bracket.”

“The musicianship of the guys is unbelievable, each player having quite a distinct style of their own but each player fitting into what was being played. Each song featured a solo by one player. All players were good, but I must mention three. Clifford Solomon’s sax playing kept standing out. Freddy Robinson also deserves mentioning…he filled in behind the band and the audience missed a lot of great guitar work. Keef Hartley also deserves a mention. He’s a very light drummer, but very sharp and quick.”

“ John Mayall – well, it’s hard to describe what he is like…(his) voice slightly fluctuating as he moves around the microphone. It’s weird. He set a pattern and then let the other musicians build around it was his attitude.”

“After the band finished their encore, they received a standing ovation.”

In another report the headline announced, “Mayall Finishes on a High Note” where Colin James wrote, “John Mayall is a no-crap guy. The Australian tour by Mayall and his band proved that. It’s hard to draw just one player out of the band and praise him over the others. But taking my head in my hands I’m going to praise Freddy Robinson. He was the darling of the Australian audiences and everywhere he played he received thunderous applause. Keef Hartley is a really fine drummer too. The brass section of the band was also fantastic. These guys worked closer than the rest of the band. Putter Smith virtually started playing with the band in Australia and as the tour progressed picked up more confidence and fitted in well occasionally playing some fine bass riffs.”

“Mayall himself, well he played very little guitar, concentrating on organ, harmonica and vocals. Of these three what sticks in my mind most are his vocals. He has a strange voice, very spooky type of vocals, made even stranger because Mayall didn’t eat the microphone like most singers, but sang away from it. This meant any movement of his head as he was playing gave an eerie fluctuation to the vocals.”
- Colin James, Go-Set, 1 April 1972


John Mayall’s band while doing a number of university gigs also made a special appearance at Melbourne’s Q Club. Described as a “head dance” the small club was jammed with a crowd of 2,000. Colin James of Go-Set describes the concert: “First up were Carson who warmed up the crowd but didn’t really get it on as much as they have on previous occasions. Next were Taman Shud. This band is incredible and must be one of Australia’s best. Virtually all original material, they have the melodic softness that makes music enjoyable to listen to.” “Then there was Jerry Humphries singing in-between brackets, chanting random numbers, and generally getting the audience going while Mayall's equipment was set up. I must give a special mention to the hoons who kept chanting for Thorpie numbers – they sure are an intelligent lot!” “Mayall came on the audience was sitting and he put on another incredible set. Credits go to Edison Grant for a good light show, the Freeman Brothers for putting on a great concert and John Mayall’s band for some beautiful music.” Ed Nimmervoll in his column wrote, “It was obvious from their enthusiasm at Melbourne’s Q Club last Saturday that Mayall and the group much preferred the smaller, more intimate contact with their audience.”


Go-Set also reported John Mayall’s band had a “closed jam” session with Carson at Berties nightclub. Broderick Smith was particularly impressed with Freddy Robinson. Ed Nimmervoll wrote, “Broderick Smith says he’ll never forget the night. It wasn’t Mayall (that impressed Broderick) but guitarist Freddy Robinson who has a long history of blues playing. Robinson has played with some harp greats so for the first 20 minutes Broderick says he was very careful in his playing, following Robinson’s lead like a good boy. After a while he decided not to worry and to began to play feed lines back and forth with Robinson.”


As always, Molly Meldrum was enthusiastic about another overseas touring group declaring, “What a superb guitarist John Mayall is. I trust everyone has gone to see this great performer and his superb group of musicians. It’s a pity he’s not appearing at the Mulwala Pop Festival!”


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Go-Set magazine
19 February 1972; 4, 11, 18 & 25 March 1972; 1 April 1972

Planet magazine
26 January 1972; 2 February 1972

The Official John Mayall website

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