The Power House Four


  • John Mayall electric piano, guitar harp, vocals 
  • Peter Ward drums 
  • Ray Cummings electric guitar (Framus), piano 
  • Roger Woodburn acoustic (Gut String) guitar
  • Ricky Blears double bass 
  • John Hamer drums 


In 1956 John Mayall OBE (b. Wednesday, November 29, 1933, Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK) formed Art School band The Powerhouse Four with college fellow Peter Ward on drums, plus other local musicians, who sometimes included Ray Cummings on electric guitar (Framus), piano, Roger Woodburn on acoustic (Gut String) guitar (b. Roger Woodburn) and Ricky Blears double bass (b. Richard Blears). Sometimes the group had John Hamer on drums. 

Mayall learnt piano and guitar in his teens, but never thought of a musical career. When he was 13 in 1956 he went to Junior Art School in Manchester, doing a two year course, where they taught him a minimum of English, Maths, Geography and history, with the rest being art. When he left the school, he went to work in a department store doing window display work. He worked his way up into the drawing office.

Mayall stayed their for two years, before he was conscripted into the army, to do his National Service. After two years in the army, including some time spent in Korea he decided to resume his studies and went to The Regional College of Art in Manchester, which he stayed for the required four years, 1955 to 1959. It was while she was here, that Mayall led The Powerhouse Four. He then got a job in an art studio attached to an advertising agency. 

The band played all the local dances. Mayall would later join The Blues Syndicate in 1962 and then Alexis Korner (b. Alexis Andrew Nicholas Koerner, Thursday, April 19, 1928, Paris, France. d. Sunday, January 1, 1984, Westminster, South West London, UK), persuaded Mayall to opt for a full-time musical career and to move to London, where Korner introduced him to many other musicians and where 29 year-old Mayall formed John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in January 1963, Korner helped him to find gigs and musicians. Peter Ward was also later to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in July 1963.

John H. Warburg - 12/4/15


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