Back on Friday, March 28th, 2008 I published the post, Live Albums — Dead or Alive? in which I listed many of my favourite live albums: Zappa In New York (1978); Super Session (1968) with Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Stephen Stills; and Warren Zevon’s Stand In The Fire (1980/2007) just to name a few. Among them, though, was also an absolute favourite live album of mine which has long stood the test of time. That artist and album being John Mayall’s 1969 live release The Turning Point.
There are few albums from that era which still hold up so well today, and fewer still, live albums which do so, so it’s an incredible accomplishment of the musicianship, as well as that era’s recording abilities, which make The Turning Point (and it’s subsequent re-releases and expanded editions) the exceptional live album that it is. Each and every time I listen to it, I am drawn in again and again by it’s unique subtleties.
from the Original 1969 album liner notes:
THE TIME IS RIGHT FOR A NEW DIRECTION IN BLUES MUSIC. HAVING DECIDED 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.
John Mayall – July 1969
I am very pleased to present as this Sunday Big Note, a soundboard recording of John Mayall and the Turning Point band (with special guest, Duster Bennett) performing at the Fillmore East in New York City, New York, on March 15th, 1970 (with extra bonus tracks of Duster Bennett and Mayall’s USA Union band):
Train I Ride
Can’t Be Wrong For Long
The Laws Must Change
Be With You Tonight (Duster Bennett)
Jumping At Shadows (Duster Bennett)
Jam (John Mayall’s Turning Point Band with Duster Bennett)
Hooters & Winos (Mayall’s USA Union Band, Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL, 11 Sept 1970)
Possessive Emotions (Mayall’s USA Union Band, Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL, 11 Sept 1970)
Down The Road (Out of the Blue, 1966. Duster Bennett with Top Topham)
I’m Thinking About A Woman (Out of the Blue, 1966. Duster Bennett with Peter Green)
Got A Tongue In Your Head (Smiling Like I’m Happy, 1968. Duster Bennett & His House Band)
40 Minutes From Town (Smiling Like I’m Happy, 1968. Duster Bennett & His House Band)
John Mayall’s Turning Point Band (Fillmore East, March 15th, 1970):
John Mayall – vocals, harmonica, slide guitar, telecaster 6 string guitar, tambourine, mouth percussion
Jon Mark – accoustic finger-style guitar
Alex Dmochowski – bass guitar
Johnny Almond – tenor and alto saxophones,flutes,mouth percussion
Duster Bennett – bass kick drum, harmonica, 1952 Les Paul Goldtop guitar
John Mayall’s USA Union Band (Argon Ballroom, Chicago, IL, 11 Sept 1970):
Click here to view a suberb performance of John Mayall’s Turning Point band performing “California” live in Paris, 1970.
Note: the video of “The Laws Must Change” which opens this post is from the Music Scene TV Show, 1970.