Monday, December 29, 2014

the turning point

John Mayall found room to move on from the busted bluesbreakers with this acoustic rebirth.  After ten albums (John Mayall Plays John MayallBlues Breakers with Eric ClaptonA Hard RoadCrusadeThe Blues AloneThe Diary of a Band - Volume OneThe Diary of a Band - Volume TwoBare WiresBlues from Laurel Canyon, and Looking Back) in five years with a revolving cast of British blues legends including Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce (who would leave to form Cream);   Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie (who left to form Fleetwood Mac); Andy Frasier (who left to form Free);  and Mick Taylor (who left to join The Rolling Stones);  Mayall decided to create a whole new band:   "Whenever you get a new musician it obviously affects the way that the music is played. It actually gives you a nice shot in the arm and its always very exciting to get a new twist on things.,,It’s just a part of my history and wherever I am I have a band. It really sums up the period of my life when I was in London. It was such a swift turnover of musicians. All of them were just young guys who were just trying to find their feet and I was able to help them along."

His new combo recorded 'The Turning Point' in New York at Bill Graham's Fillmore East on July 12, 1969.  Monique McGuffin was the production coordinator with engineer Eddie Kramer.  The set features John Almond on flute, saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, and mouth percussion;   Jon Mark on acoustic guitar;   John Mayall on production, guitar, harmonica, keyboards, tambourine, vocals, slide guitar, and mouth percussion;  and Steven Thompson on bass guitar.  

'The Turning Point' went to number eleven on the UK album chart and charted a whole new course for Mayall's career.   Mayall revealed in the liner notes:   "The time is right for a new direction in blues music.  Having tried to dispense with heavy lead guitar and drums, usually a 'must' for blues groups today, I set about forming a new band which would be able to explore seldom-used areas within the framework of low volume music.  This album is the result of this experiment and it was recorded live at the Fillmore East Theater, New York, after only four weeks experience of each other's playing...This year has been something of a rush so far and the changing face of my music has had a lot to do with this.  During the tour of the USA that I did between February and May 1969 it became apparent that Mick Taylor was showing signs of following the pattern of his illustrious predecessors and about ready to make his mark in the world as a name and a musical leader.  It no longer seemed logical to me that I should find yet another new lead guitarist; since Eric Clapton more or less founded a whole cult of blues guitar stylists, too many people are into that bag for it to mean much anymore.  So I have now got a new thing in operation whereby drums are not used on the theory that every instrument is capable of creating its own rhythm.  An acoustic finger style guitarist of the finest order, Jon Mark, replaced drummer Colin Allen, Johnny Almond on flutes and saxophones replaces Mick Taylor who made the headlines a week after leaving me when he was asked to join the Rolling Stones.  Within the new format Steve Thompson is now heard to much greater advantage and I’d go as far to say he is the best bass player I’ve yet worked with.  In addition to his prodigious playing, he is developing a flair for composition which is well illustrated on this album."

'The Turning Point'
full album:

All songs written by John Mayall, except where indicated.

Side one
"The Laws Must Change" – 7:21
"Saw Mill Gulch Road" – 4:39
"I'm Gonna Fight For You J.B." – 5:27
"So Hard To Share" – 7:05
Side two
"California" (Mayall, Steve Thompson) – 9:30
"Thoughts About Roxanne" (Mayall, Thompson) – 8:20
"Room To Move" – 5:03

bonus tracks:
"Sleeping By Her Side" – 5.10
"Don't Waste My Time" (Mayall, Thompson) – 4.54
"Can't Sleep This Night" – 6.19

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