When Eric Clapton plugged his Les Paul into a smallish Marshall amp in April 1966, Decca's sound engineer initially refused to cooperate, declaring the guitarist unrecordable. Clapton's volume was sending the levels into orbit but the young gun refused to turn down, thus giving birth to a new sound. And what a sound it is. Thick, creamy and delicious, it was devoured by other guitar players, and its lasting influence, along with Clapton's magnificent execution, bumps up the rating here by a whole star.
Beginning appropriately enough with a few notes from Clapton's Les, 'All Your Love' kicks off the album in fine style, and gives the impression that Eric is just loosening up for 'Hideaway', an instrumental which showcases his remarkable fluidity, and for my money the pick of the tracks. Also outstanding is 'Have You Ever Loved A Woman', which Clapton later resurrected for Layla, and on which he takes over the singing duties. Pity he didn't do so more often because, along with some less-than-great songs, Mayall's voice is the real weak link in the chain. As his performance on 'What'd I Say' proves, he ain't no Ray Charles
'Beano' is certainly not the best blues album ever recorded, not by a long way, but its influence on other guitarists was immeasurable, as was Mayall's on so many of the fabulous British musicians who passed through the ranks of the Bluesbreakers. Full marks to him for that.
Recommended, but only for guitar fans. If you want Clapton playing and singing great songs, buy Layla instead. You'll get extra guitar legend thrown in, too.