(U.K 1956 - Present)
left, that 'The Turning Point' was recorded live at the Fillmore East.
The Turning Point is unique because the concert and the subsequent album release featured an all acoustic quartet and no drummer, something unheard of in hard rocking 1969. Mayall played harmonica and acoustic guitar, Johnny Almond played sax and flute, Jon Mark played, according to Mayall, "acoustic finger-style guitar," and Steve Thompson was the bassist. Mark and Almond left not long after the album was released to form their own band.
Among the songs are the album's best known track, the exuberant classic "Room to Move," a piece that became famous for Mayall's mouth percussion gimmick, and there is the topical rant that opened the album, "The Laws Must Change," a song expressing his views on legalizing marijuana. However, the best tracks have bassist Thompson and woodwind player Almond stealing the show. Because this concert was "unplugged" (a term that was not yet used in 1969) the former's bass is front and center while the latter proved he can play with any bluesman or jazz band anywhere. Both shine on "Thoughts About Roxanne" and "California."
Mayall's vocals can be a distraction but once you get beyond them 'The Turning Point' is definitely a very rewarding experience. [notes by Charlie Ricci at bloggerhythms]
They're sensational! The new Mayall 'blues without bashing' band have suddenly developed into the most original, refreshing and exciting group in Britain, nay the world.
Minus a drummer and minus the usual battery of amplifiers, the band, as a result of John's inspirational change of formula are creating some of the most subtle and rewarding music I have had the pleasure of hearing in many moons.
At the Cambridge May Ball last week, the band received an ovation from the hippest audience ever to wear full evening dress and gowns. The new group, with fingerstyle guitarist Jon Mark added at the last moment, made their debut at the Paris Olympia and went on to tour Germany. Cambridge was their first English date.
John is playing harmonicas and electric guitar plugged into his PA system, having dropped organ, piano. Multi instrumentalist and looner extraordinary Johnny Almond is on flute tenor and alto.
The range of sounds and moods they obtain is staggering. It has to be admitted. I was extremely dubious about any band working without drums, which I thought could only lead to hours of boredom. However they played two sets, the second proving more together and intense than the first.
Johnny Almond's playing was brilliant throughout. After years of hard work with many English bands, he is surely destined to he a star. With the low level of volume he can play the sweetest sounds without being overwhelmed. The same holds true for the fine guitar of Jon Mark, who used to accompany Marianne Faithfull, before going into session work.
But the most remarkable feature of the new band is their interplay and empathy. Sometimes, perhaps only one member is playing, then the others join in gently, building up to climaxes that sound all the more exciting for the restraint that has gone before.
Talking later over a meal in the library, Mayall said the plan now is to get an LP nut of the new band and he wants to record it live at the Fillmore in America.
Speaking personally, I can't wait to see the effect they are going to have on the rest of the country and of course, the music scene [courtesy of Melody Maker 21st June '69]
This post consists of FLACS and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my newly acquired CD, another gem found in amongst a pile of classical titles at the local market. Full album artwork for both CD and vinyl formats are included, along with 3 bonus tracks (available from the remastered / extended CD release), also recorded at the same Fillmore concert.
01. The Laws Must Change - 7:21
02. Saw Mill Gulch Road - 4:39
03. I'm Gonna Fight For You J.B. - 5:27
04. So Hard To Share - 7:05
05. California - 9:30
06. Thoughts About Roxanne - 8:20
07. Room To Move - 5:03
08. Sleeping By Her Side - 5.10
09. Don't Waste My Time - 4.54
10. Can't Sleep This Night - 6.19
The Band are
John Mayall (Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica)
Jon Mark (Acoustic finger-style guitar)
Steve Thompson (Bass Guitar)
Johnny Almond (Sax / flute)
John Mayall FLAC Link (357Mb)
John Mayall MP3 Link (65Mb)