JOHN MAYALL The Turning Point (1969)

The Turning Point (1969)
An Old Dog’s Cool New Trick

I originally heard this album a week before it was even recorded… at my first ever concert, when John Mayall (advertised as John Mayall with “The Blues Crusade”) opened for Creedence Clearwater Revival in July, 1969. I knew CCR from the radio, and my brother’s 8-track, which was why I dropped a top-dollar $5.50 to be there. Mayall was only a name I’d heard a few times, mostly in conjunction with Clapton. But his band on this night, featuring Jon Mark & Johnny Almond, left such an indelible impression that when I heard an FM free-form station playing this eventual live album (taped at The Fillmore in NYC, a week after I saw them), I was positive it was the exact same show. I was young, what did I know about touring set lists? What’s cool about The Turning Point, besides earning the veteran Mayall a rare FM ‘solo’ radio hit with “Room To Move,” was that it was a completely fresh take on the blues, from a long time master, mentor and survivor. Mayall stripped his band down to a drummer-less four, creating, via Mark/Almond, a smooth, jazzy precursor to the FM folk/blues the duo would later specialize in after leaving this unit (you remember “The City,” right?). The Point‘s overall, late-night vibe is the winning ingredient and those that have never experienced it are urged to give it a shot. Listen to the 9-1/2 minute “California” (below), if only to hear how fearless these guys were – an opening act playing slow-moving, unheard blues & jazz originals for a CCR crowd. From the sound of the response, and the one I still remember from 1969, Mayall’s Turning Point apparently won people over wherever they played. Amazon has it.


The Laws Must Change (7:22)
Saw Mill Gulch Road
(4:40)
I’m Gonna Fight For You JB
(5:28)
So Hard To Share
(7:05)
California
(9:31)
Thoughts About Roxanne
(8:21)
Room To Move
(5:04)
Sleeping By Her Side
(5:10) – Bonus Track
Don’t Waste My Time
(4:55) – Bonus Track
Can’t Sleep This Night
(6:20) – Bonus Track

 

10 Comments

  • 1
    teifidancer
    January 14, 2010 - 15:41 | Permalink

    My fave John Mayall L.P, still playing my rather battered vinyl copy bought when I was 15 in 1981 ,actually played it last weekend, it still sounds startingly fresh, best wishes xx heddwch/peace

  • 2
    Anonymous
    January 15, 2010 - 06:11 | Permalink

    wow thanks! i played the sh#t out of this on vinyl back in the day. Haven't heard it in over 25 years. gonna be a gooood listen.

  • 3
    Anonymous
    January 15, 2010 - 08:16 | Permalink

    Great Stuff!! Any chance you could post one of the other best things Mayall did – "USA UNION"?
    Love to hear it again!
    Thanks for all you do!!!

  • 4
    Sonny Walkman
    January 15, 2010 - 18:12 | Permalink

    Thanks again Willard

    I must have seen about 8 different Mayall line-ups but never this one. I've always loved the album and have only a battered vinyl copy. You've made my day.

    Tony

  • 5
    Miles
    January 16, 2010 - 05:04 | Permalink

    this was a refreshing departure for mayall and it still holds up well today. usa union too was another favorite of mine. although i couldn't always find it within to follow mayall on his winding journey through the blues, i did always admire his desire to stray off the path in order to find new combinations and voices to express a universal feeling. can't say his taste in players was so bad either.

  • 6
    Capt. Willard
    January 20, 2010 - 02:55 | Permalink

    Gotta agree. Thanks for all the comments, vinyl hounds.

  • 7
    Anonymous
    January 25, 2010 - 03:28 | Permalink

    A little late but from John Mayalls web site…

    Johnny Almond died peacefully at home surrounded by wife Ginny, daughter Sharon, and son-in-law Chris at 5:45 pm PST, Wednesday, November 18.

    "It is always sad to lose a friend and today I heard of Johnny's passing after his long bout with cancer. He and I worked and played together many times over the years and I always found him to be both a remarkable sax player who could express himself in so many styles of music and a pleasure to be around on the road and in the studio. Apart from his contributions on various tracks on my albums 'So Many Roads', 'Empty Rooms' and 'Back to the Roots', he is perhaps best remembered for his brilliant tenor saxophone and flute playing on the live classic 'Turning Point' album. His playing on the track 'California' still gives me chills and I will miss him and his spirit."

    - John Mayall 18 Nov 09

  • 8
    Capt. Willard
    January 25, 2010 - 03:30 | Permalink

    Didn't know about that. Many thanks for the post.

  • 9
    W
    January 20, 2011 - 13:30 | Permalink

    .
    .
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    .
    Find it HERE.
    .
    .
    .

  • 10
    Bob
    January 29, 2014 - 11:57 | Permalink

    Saw this band in Philly in 69 at the Electric Factory. I believe the opening act was a band called hard meat.Could be wrong about that though. Great show.

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