February 7, 2008

the turning point

went up to milwaukeefest for a wilco show a few years back & made a point of getting there early enough to catch john mayall beforehand...his band came on & rolled through a few blues standards before this old guy, who i'd noticed sitting offstage in a tank top, fanny pack & orthopedic shoes, came walking out & began wailing away on the harmonica...first off, tank tops & fanny packs are the norm up in milwaukee, so i kind of figured it was just some local with special treatment, but the real reason i hadn't suspected who the man was is because i hadn't realized how much older mayall was than the players he recruited for the bluesbreakers back in the 60s (eric clapton, john mcvie, mick fleetwood, mick taylor, etc.)...dude's almost 75 years old...he put on a great show, too...anyway, one of my favorite periods of mayall's career is during 1969, when he decided to change his approach towards the blues by dropping the heavy lead guitar & drums & putting together a jazz fueled, acoustic based band that could play off each other in low volume settings...the result was the turning point album, which was recorded at the fillmore east in july of that year, only four weeks after mayall first started playing with jon mark (acoustic finger-style guitar), steve thompson (bass guitar), & johnny almond (saxophones, flutes, mouth percussion)...if you've never heard this, it's definitely worth your time.

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