February 12, 2010

John Mayall, The Turning Point

If you want to really groove out to some drummerless rippin blues music. Give this album a listen. Most of you have probably heard of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. The members of the Bluesbreakers over the early years were many and a virtual who's who of future classic rock stars.

Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Peter Green, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood and many, many others cut their teeth in a band that was led by a man who was as gifted a talent scout as he was a musician. John Mayall attracted the best and early albums tell the tale of some great jams.

The Turning Point was a turn in a somewhat different direction from the Bluesbreakers. This album still contained the blues John was known for and loved, but what it did not have was any percussion instruments. Unless, of course, you consider the bass guitar and harmonicas percussion. This was recorded live, July 12 1969 in New York at Bill Graham's Fillmore East.

It featured Mayall on vocals, harmonicas, slide guitar, telecaster 6 string guitar, tambourine and mouth percussion. Jon Mark on acoustic finger-style guitar. Steve Thompson on bass guitar and Johnny Almond on tenor and alto sax, flutes and mouth percussion.

If you do give it a listen, do listen for the 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 went before it. All of this after only four weeks experience of each others playing.

This album was my first introduction into the blues scene. No better album to become a blues disciple. Again, thanks to Layla for giving me a chance to share my favorite albums. Please listen and enjoy!

My Beat Club - I`m Gonna Fight For You J.B. on MUZU

Just added this video I found. Pretty cool and definitive of the sound they were going for.


Perplexio said...

I've been wanting to check out Mayall for awhile but haven't yet.

But speaking of Blues, I HAVE been checking out the Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield collaborations. Those are pretty damned good too.

I'll add Mayall to my list of musicians to check out. It might have to wait until after I've had a chance to digest Kooper/Bloomfield's "SuperSession."

Seano said...

That's 2 in a row I've never heard, Spirit and this one...got some catching up to do.

Sean Coleman said...

Keep it coming, brother.

Dan said...

If you want to discover why Eric Clapton was considered God, get your hands on the John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton (1966). It is referred to as the Beano album because Clapton is shown reading The Beano, a well known British childrens comic book.

This was an influential album as it featured possibly the first time a Gibson Les Paul was heard overdriven through a Marshall amp. This was also the very first time Clapton was recorded vocally. He left the Bluesbreakers soon after the recording, but it laid the groundwork for his later Cream years. Rolling Stone has it as #195 in the top 500 greatest albums of all time.

I still like The Turning Point better, but this album would be second on my list.

JohnnyG's Blues said...

Turning Point was not my introduction to the blues, but it was my introduction to John Mayall. In fact, it was a while before I realized the percussion was not there. And it wasn't needed.

By that time I was very familiar with Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Freddie King and a whole host of early blues/rock pioneers.

Mayall is different than all of them. Again, more about the music than the flash. The jazz overtones and creativity are unparalleled. He stands unique in the blues world and opens it up to new interpretations.

This is how the blues stays alive from one generation to the next.

Bond said...

This was a superb album...As are all of the Mayall albums...the guitarists who played with John are amazing

Anonymous said...

Just interviewed John Mayall a couple weeks ago, had a wonderful chat with him. The column I wrote based on the interview is at www.midliferocker.com. Enjoy!

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