MAYFIELD's MULE- the story

Hello to all you mule fans!! First I would like to say thank you for buying this album which has been lost in the ozone for around 37 years. I never did think it would see the light of day after all this time but thanx to Night Wings Records here it is. Most of these tunes were recorded at Abbey Road Studios between 1969 and 1970, but first a slight backtrack into some Mayfield history to get to that point.
I have been playing guitar and making music since I was a teenager in the southeast of England. Playing coffee houses and folk clubs acoustically before moving on to electric guitar in 1962, playing in local bands up and down the coast of Kent along with lots and lotsa other kids. My first recording was a Fats Domino tune “Something You Got” with a band called The MORAL SET around’62/63. In 1966 I set off for the big city of London to try to make my little statement to the world. Now things get a bit confusing, after all, it was London in the ‘60’s but I will do my best. The centre of all things musical was Denmark Street or Tin Pan Alley as it was called then…there was a coffee bar called the La Gioconda where musicians would hang out and try to pick up gigs to keep on eating. A lively place it was. It was here that I hooked up with a whole bunch of people that were active in music all trying to do our thing, just about everybody who was playing in the ‘60’s at one time or another. Including harmonica player Mox Gowland known then as Moxie, we did a few duo gigs together (and later he played on the Mule album).

I worked for a while with Patrick Campbell-Lyons and Alex Spyropoulos in a band called NIRVANA that later had some success. In 1967 I played on "Little Piece of Leather" (an old Moral Set number), a Cbs single by GENE LATTER. I also ran into a guy called JOHNNY GUSTAFSON who had been the bass player for the Big Three, one of Liverpool’s best loved bands. We formed a trio with a drummer called Dave, also from Liverpool and started gigging. Somehow we then were put together with CRISPIAN St. PETERS who had a hit with a song called “Pied Piper” and we toured with him for a while, ‘twas a little strange. Some time after I joined up with IAN HUNTER in a band called AT LAST THE 1958 ROCK and ROLL SHOW with Freddie Fingers Lee on piano. We did some recording and gigging for a while….This would have been around 1968 I guess...there was a lot going on at this time, played some with BILL BRUFORD who went on to drum for Yes, lotsa good stuff.

Then things went a little sideways and I remember being really broke…sleeping on a bench in Russell Square Gardens and being rescued by Tony Stratton-Smith, who managed the Koobas (another band from Liverpool), with cups of tea in the mornings. He also started Charisma records. To make a little cash I took a gig driving a band called AMEN CORNER who were the biggest pop band in the country at that time. We had a Daimler limo 191 FLY and it did (why do I remember that number plate !!!). I was still writing tunes and looking for my opportunity to move on up in music when my girlfriend at the time Wendy Grant gave some of my demos to MIKE SMITH the tenor player in the Amens. He took these tunes to several record companies, and one of them…E.M.I. offered me a deal. Wonderful! Mike then left Amen Corner and became my manager.

“Moonshine” and “Double Dealing Woman” were the first tracks we recorded at Trident studios in Soho. On those cuts there is just myself, PETE SAUNDERS on keyboards and HENRY SPINETTI on drums. And JONATHAN PEEL as a producer. This became my first single release and to promote it I recruited old friend CHRIS HUNT for our first photo. I seem to remember auditioning for the other band members at a little rehearsal studio in Shepherds Bush and along came drummer SEAN JENKINS who had just left the Elastic Band and STEVE BRADLEY who joined on bass. I believe there were other people involved here but my memory lets me down…so apologies to y’all… MAYFIELD’s MULE was born. We rehearsed up a bunch of my tunes and started gigging on the University circuit. With a proper agent and all. We also started recording at Abbey Road Studios with the Beatles just down the hallway cutting 'Let It Be' and Procol Harum (whom I knew from the early days in Kent as they came from Southend, I believe) next door doing their thing. We were on the same label as the Beatles… Parlophone...great days…cups of tea in the canteen with the greatest band in the world at that time. We recorded in Studio 3, which is the same room that Pink Floyd cut 'Dark Side of the Moon'. I also wangled the loan of the mellotron that the Beatles used on Sgt. Pepper. I used it on “My Way of Living” and “My One For Your Two”. I think P.P. Arnold did the backup vocals on both those trax. We had other two singles released, ”I See A River” (again produced by Jonathan Peel) and “We Go Rollin’” all of which had a lot of airplay. And we worked on the album in between gigging in the UK and Europe, all was going well. We did our showcase for the press in the “Chamber of Horrors” at Madame Tussaud’s in London which was a lot of fun. We also played the old “Marquee Club” in Wardour Street a couple of times which was great and had a residency at the Hampstead Country Club which became a very good gig down the road.

At the end of the sessions for the tunes on this album Steve Bradley decided to leave the band. So some changes were made. Sean had worked with bass player MIKE SCOTT in the ELASTIC BAND and he brought him on down. Mike brought his guitarist brother ANDY SCOTT along and he joined as well. At some point here Chris Hunt, who had been drummer with Cat Stevens, Good Time Losers and Ian Hunter (in a band called Pendulum) replaced Sean, but I cannot get the chronological order thru my head. None of these guys are on these recordings, but we did all gig together…I remember the south of France quite well !!!! We walked into a record store in St. Tropez and there was the Mule stuff on sale…great!! Then it all went wrong. I have very little memory of how this happened, but it did. Something broke and it all fell down. The album never really finished and the trax consigned to the dark dungeons of Abbey Road Archives. The band broke up and I took off out of London in a state of ????...despair I guess.

I met up with John Kongos after my split with EMI, he was going to produce some of the material that I had left from the album ideas. We recorded some demos in his home studio but he went on to have a big hit of his own. So I took off for my home town and a little rest from the madness. Around this time I hooked up with Noel Redding (from the Hendrix band) who I had known since our early days in Kent. Noel had a rehearsal room at the top of his house and people dropped by to jam…Jeff Beck, Henry McCullough, Cozy Powell to name a few. We put some mates and some tunes together and went on the road for a while, played some gigs and then went our own ways. My way lead to Amsterdam, where I went back to playing coffee bars and clubs as a solo artist, in that town and on down thru' Germany. There are a few “lost years” through the end of the ‘70’s which we shall skip on over…

In 1979 I felt I needed a change; America had some fine guitar players so I figured that’s where I needed to be to see what I could learn. So off I went to Los Angeles where I stayed for 7 years. Played with some fine people, had a lot of fun, even hooked up with Noel there and did a gig together in Hollywood. Then I moved on down to San Diego, lived on the beach and had a lot of good times and did some good gigs down there. In 1988 I moved out to Kentucky to have a look at Nashville, which was just down the road in Tennessee, and there I stayed in my log cabin in the woods until 1998. I came back to England and formed BLUZE The BAND which performed for around 7 years both in the UK and Ireland and had some great festival gigs. Also cutting two albums: 'Demoz' and 'Bluze the Band'.

In 2006 I received an e-mail from Gianpaolo asking me about the 'Mayfield’s Mule' album that I believed had never been finished or released (and he also showed me that my records were selling on e-bay as collectables). The outcome of that conversation was a plan to find the tracks at Abbey Road if possible and to compile them into the album that never was and release it 37 years later. Which is exactly what we have done. So the lost album from Mayfield’s Mule is lost no more, it is alive and well before your very eyes and in your very ears. So we hope you enjoy this little contribution to music of the ‘60’s as much as we have enjoyed putting it together and putting it out into the world.

Adios…be happy…Mayfield

Chris Mayfield is still gigging and recording!

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