Listen: What Am I Living For / Mark – Almond MarkAlmondWhatAmILiving.mp3
Listen: The City / Mark – Almond MarkAlmondTheCity.mp3
I was lucky enough to see one of the early shows John Mayall did in support of his then brand new album TURNING POINT, basically himself, Jon Mark, Johnny Almond and Steven Thompson. A fantastic drumless lineup – so different at the time. If you have the album, well the live show was exactly the same. A perfect evening.
Always on the move musically, John Mayall soon reinvented himself, possibly due to the formation of Mark – Almond. They too, were a super good act live. Several of the songs from their first two albums on Bob Krasnow’s Blue Thumb label were progressive radio staples, including ‘The City’. It was frankly shocking to hear it on a JetBlue flight recently via their Sirius radio feed. It had been years since that came out of any radio. Got to hand it to Sirius, they play a lot of great stuff.
Learn something everyday: I was completely sure ‘What Am I Living For’ had charted, even peaking in 30′s/40′s on Billboard’s Top 100. Not so. Never even entered. I heard it often as a current during the summer of ’72. It was a high point of the live show as well.
Mark – Almond double billed often with plain and simple guitar bands during their 4-5 year run. Despite the company, every audience listened and appreciated their undeniable musical superiority. Jon Mark, the consummate acoustic, 12 string player, with Johnny Almond at his side, swaying to the music, eyes closed. His seemingly euphoric state took up almost as much stage time as his playing, which by the way, was superb.
Listen: Solar Level / Johnny Almond Music Machine JohnnyAlmond.mp3
Prior to the John Mayall association and subsequent Mark – Almond period, Johnny Almond made a few albums for Deram’s jazz leaning long player roster (along with the likes of Henry Lowther, The John Cameron Quartet and The Mike Westbrook Orchestra). All highly desirable now, primarily for their sampling potentials, it’s interesting to think that the label would actually release singles from said endeavors, which even more oddly, I ended up liking a lot.
Listen: Night Comes Down / Jon-Mark JonMarkNightComes.mp3
Jon Mark, in fact, started years earlier, playing guitar on various Marianne Faithfull singles, like ‘Come And Stay With Me’ and ‘Summer Nights’. It was during that period (’65) that he too recorded a version of the Shel Talmy written ‘Night Comes Down’, which I post a few days back by The Mickey Finn in a much more psychedelicized style.