- Album name: The Turning Point
- Artist name: John Mayall
- Year: 1969
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Polydor Records Ltd.
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Who owned it: my father
- Buy it on Amazon: $9.48
Level of familiarity before listening
I’ve heard of John Mayall, but I don’t think I know any of his songs, and don’t think I’ve ever heard this record.
What I expected
What it was actually like
This was a live record, and it was pretty great. Blues was indeed the dominant musical style, though about a third of it was more jazzy, and I didn’t enjoy the jazz parts as much.
From the beginning, however, The Turning Point was strong. The Laws Must Change was a beautiful blues rock song with harmonica and flute, and even passed my flute test:
… I’m maybe slightly more forgiving of flute being used in rock music [than saxophone], if only because it’s so uncommon, but there’s a simple standard that I would apply: are you Jethro Tull? Are you better than Jethro Tull, or engaged in a serious attempt to do something that Jethro Tull hasn’t done or can’t do? If you answer no to all of those questions, then you probably should leave the flute out of your rock song.
The flute definitely did what another guitar couldn’t have done, and I loved it (and the crowd loved it, too).
And that continued to the end: Room to Move was more like a dance song with a harmonica solo, and it also employed excellent use of the flute.
So Hard To Share, California and Thoughts About Roxanne were all more jazzy and tended to be more about the saxophone. From the above, my saxophone test:
… I want to stress that rock musicians really need to avoid using saxophone in their music. If you’re Charlie Parker, I want to hear your saxophone part, but in rock I just don’t think there’s a lot of use for it.
The bass lines were strong across the record, and I didn’t mind the jams that much, but as always, tended to wish that they had been replaced by actual songs.
5/5: love it
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