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The Turning Point
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JOHN MAYALL
THE TURNING POINT

 
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

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THE MUSICIANS
(In order of photographs top to bottom, on the left)
 
JOHN MAYALL – vocals, harmonica, slide guitar, telecaster 6 string guitar, tambourine, mouth percussion
JON MARK – acoustic finger-style guitar
STEVE THOMPSON – bass guitar
JOHNNY ALMOND – tenor and alto saxophones, flutes, mouth percussion

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THE MUSIC
 
Side 1

 
THE LAWS MUST CHANGE
Composer - Mayall
Key - C
Time - 6.13
A few personal observations of police vs. youth and the drug situation

 
SAW MILL GULCH ROAD
Composer - Mayall
Key - E
Time - 4.38
The story of an innocent encounter one night in Monterey, California

 
I’M GONNA FIGHT FOR YOU J.B.
Composer - Mayall
Key - B
Time - 5.11
Fondly dedicated to the late J.B. Lenoir whose talent has yet to be acknowledged

 
SO HARD TO SHARE
Composer - Mayall
Key - G
Time - 6.43
Patricia and a possessive ‘old man’ who stood in our way

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Side 2
 
CALIFORNIA

Composer - Thompson/Mayall
Key - D
Time - 9.14
Improvisations and moods on the theme of homesickness

 
THOUGHTS ABOUT ROXANNE
Composer - Thompson/Mayall
Key - C
Time - 7.50
Memories of my love and friendship for a special girl in Los Angeles

 
ROOM TO MOVE
Composer - Mayall
Key - D flat
Time - 4.34
A musician’s need for personal freedom to love without entanglement

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THE CREDITS
 
Producer: John Mayall
Engineer: Eddie Kramer
Location: Bill Graham’s Fillmore East, New York City
Date: 12th July 1969
 
Photographers: Barrie Wentzell, Mayall, Zill, Larry La Fond, Bob Gordon and Tapani Tapanainen
 
Design and Artwork: John Mayall

Music Publisher: St. George Music Limited, Copyright 1969
 
Fan Club Newsletters: 67 Brook Street, London W1, England
 
Johnny Almond appears by the kind permission of The Decca Record Company Limited, England (to whom I owe much)
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JOURNALIST CHRIS WELCH REVIEWS THE FIRST BRITISH PERFORMANCE

They’re sensational!  The new Mayall ‘blues without bashing’ band have suddenly developed into the most original, refreshing and exciting group in Britain, nay the world.  Minus a drummer and minus the usual battery of amplifiers, the band, as a result of John’s inspirational change of formula, are creating some of the most subtle and rewarding music I have had the pleasure of hearing in many moons.
 
At the Cambridge May Ball last week, the band received an ovation from the hippest audience ever to wear full evening dress and gowns.  The new group, with finger-style guitarist Jon Mark added at the last moment, made their debut at the Paris Olympia and went on to tour Germany.  Cambridge was their first English date.  John is playing harmonicas and electric guitar plugged into his PA system, having dropped organ, piano.  Multi-instrumentalist and looner-extraordinary Johnny Almond is on flute, tenor and alto.
 
The range of sounds and moods they obtain is staggering.
 
It has to be admitted, I was extremely dubious about any band working without drums, which I thought could only lead to hours of boredom.  However they played two sets, the second proving more together and intense than the first.  Johnny Almond’s playing was brilliant throughout.  After years of hard work with many English bands, he is surely destined to be a star.  With the low level of volume he can play the sweetest sounds without being overwhelmed.  The same holds true for the fine guitar of Jon Mark, who used to accompany Marianne Faithful, before going into session work.  Steve Thompson on bass provided the firm pulse to their music and worked in such a way the absence of a drummer was quite unnoticeable after one became accustomed to the sound.
 
But the most remarkable feature of the new band is their 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 has gone before.

Talking later over a meal in the library, Mayall said the plan now is to get an LP out of the new band and he wants to record it live at the Fillmore in America.  Speaking personally, I can’t wait to see the effect they’re going to have on the rest of the country and of course, the music scene.
 
– Courtesy of Melody Maker 21st June ‘69

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INCLUDED INSIDE IS A FOLDER CONTAINING PHOTOGRAPHS AND THE LYRICS OF THE SONGS

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.  That is all I have to say except that having bought the album I hope you will enjoy the new sounds and the new songs, the lyrics for which are printed overleaf.

 
 
STEREO
 
Polydor Inc. 1700 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10019
 
 
24-4004
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