I passed on the opportunity to snatch the 2013 Record Store Day reissue of the US version of The Zombies’ debut album (titled The Zombies in the states, Begin Here in the UK). I didn’t think much for the bastardized cover, and although the album is obviously essential listening material, I opted to hold out for the original UK art. At my local hit-or-miss brick-and-mortar the other day I found this amazing gem, a UK import of the 2014 limited edition reissue. If Heinz ketchup has taught me anything, it’s that good things come to those who wait, so I feel I made the educated decision. Plus, this copy sounds flippin’ amazing! Side A is unstoppable, and it’s sad to fathom that this amazing band only lasted for two albums. Next on the “need” list, their 2nd, and last album, 1968’s Odessey and Oracle.
My first John Mayall album, The Turning Point was, for me, indeed just that. Recorded live on July 12th, 1969, The Turning Point featured Eddie Kramer at the recording engineer helm (of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix fame), with Mr. Mayall acting as producer, album art director, and a stellar offering on keyboards, tambourine, slide guitar, harmonica, and vocals. The multi-hat-wearing Mayall kills the harmonica blues sound for what feels like a room of 10,000 eager fans, and should be deemed necessary listening material for any fan of modern blues rock. The Turning Point may not be the best place to start, given Mayall’s extensive library, but it sure is a damn entertaining ride.