JOHN MAYALL The Turning Point (1969) w/ Jon Mark, Johnny Almond & Bonus Tracks

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

FROM 2010: I originally heard this album a week before it was recorded… at my first ever concert, when John Mayall (advertised as John Mayall with “The Blues Crusade” HERE) 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-tier $5.50 to be there. Mayall was only a name I’d heard, 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 absolutely 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 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? HERE). 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. We’ve got more Mayall in the archives, including Live At Aragon Ballroom, Chicago and The Turning Point Soundtrack (both HERE) and the 1967 EP, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers With Paul Butterfield (HERE). Get this bonus track version of The Turning Point at Amazon, HERE.

The Laws Must Change (7:22)
Saw Mill Gulch Road
I’m Gonna Fight For You JB
So Hard To Share
Thoughts About Roxanne
Room To Move
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


  • Willard
    January 14, 2010 - 01:30 | Permalink

    Search HERE.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.

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

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

  • 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

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

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

  • 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.

  • April 23, 2015 - 11:15 | Permalink

    Back in the day, this album provided a welcome relief from the overwrought electric blues jams by bands like Cream. It’s still a long time favorite of mine.

  • April 23, 2015 - 11:52 | Permalink

    Truly a great album

  • beemer
    April 23, 2015 - 12:12 | Permalink

    I bought this as an Lp in 1969, then as a cd and now a download. I still listen to it regularly. This, Bare Wires and Laurel Canyon still sound great after all hose years.

  • Mike Deprisco
    April 23, 2015 - 16:07 | Permalink

    I was a DJ in a small northern Michigan town in 1969-1970. Played the hell out of this record as it was a fave of students at Michigan Tech University….thanks for bringing back the memories..

  • Anonymous
    April 23, 2015 - 17:49 | Permalink

    The concert I saw was the one that became half of the Jazz Blues Fusion LP.
    Thanks for this one Willard!

  • duane
    April 23, 2015 - 23:20 | Permalink

    Thank you!

  • anonnon
    April 23, 2015 - 23:52 | Permalink

    thanks..have seen mayall from nyc to fairbanks alaska,where he jammed on drums on his b day (mid 70’s) at some dive bar after the show (we were there)..he was always good for a change, something he hasn’t done lately

  • April 24, 2015 - 05:55 | Permalink

    As a big fan of John M., but especially Mark-Almond, I’m always eager to find more material. I remember there was some live footage/ movie of the “Turning Point” period. Anyway, I’ve found this doc (italian) with great repetition/tour moments of this acoustic bluesquartet. Does anybody know more of that concert movie?

    • Willard
      April 24, 2015 - 07:53 | Permalink

      Follow the links in the text to find the soundtrack of the movie.

  • M_Sharp
    April 24, 2015 - 07:56 | Permalink

    Thanks Willard! Always a fine album to go back to, my old vinyl’s probably as worn as everyone else’s.

  • Visions
    April 24, 2015 - 19:03 | Permalink

    After a party in my college dorm, I discovered that someone had taken an album or two of mine and left The Turning Point behind. At first I was angry about it, but when I played this, I decided I had gotten the better part of the mystery deal. “California” is stupendous.

  • Johnny Kinkdom
    May 14, 2015 - 21:17 | Permalink

    Went to see John at a casino near my new home in Scottsdale, AZ. I went early hoping to catch the soundcheck but instead caught John in the hallway. He graciously spent 5 minutes talking about his career and was surprised to find a big fan as he said ticket sales for the show had been slow. Did Room To Move as the set closer that night. I was sitting 3 rows behind another recent addition to Scottsdale, Nils Lofgren. If you get the chance, go see John and his current Bluesbreakers. It ain’t no nostalgia act!

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