Saturday, 27 September 2008

Johnny Almond Music Machine - Patent Pending

Patent Pending

76 MB
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Deram DES 18030

A sweet slice of bluesy mod jazz from the swingin' late 60s London scene, wherein Johnny was successful due to having the right combination of chops, taste and youth needed to make it in the milieu. He later wound up in Mark-Almond (along with bassist Roger Sutton), one of the better UK prog outfits of the 70s. Another proto-progster on the session was Alan White, who late replace Bill Bruford in Yes. Read on for more...

AMG Bio by Bruce Eder
John Almond (also sometimes referred to as Johnny Almond) was a ubiquitous figure on the British blues-rock scene of the '60s, playing with the likes of Alan Price and John Mayall before partnering up with multi-instrumentalist Jon Mark in the Mark-Almond Band.

Born in Enfield, Middlesex, in 1946, Almond displayed an interest in music from an early age, helped by the fact that his father was a drummer -- although percussion was only one of the categories of instrument on which he started to learn. He was also quick to learn from his father's collection of records, which included a lot of '40s jazz by the likes of Benny Goodman and Woody Herman. Alto saxophone became his first instrument, but he also became proficient on tenor sax and eventually achieved professional mastery on seven others, including various keyboard instruments and the vibraphone.

He had turned professional before finishing high school and played in various groups as a teenager, including a big band under the direction of Wally Johnson. His late teens coincided with the British beat boom, but Almond was working with sounds and instruments far removed from what was sweeping popular music out of Liverpool and Manchester. Rather, he led a jazz combo of his own for a time and played with a group called Tony Knight's Chess Men before he found an extended berth, lasting a couple of years in a relatively prominent young outfit, Zoot Money's Big Roll Band. Following Money's breakup of the band (to join Eric Burdon's psychedelic-era Animals), he joined the Alan Price Set, and then signed on to John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in June of 1969. By the end of the year, with the encouragement of producer Mike Vernon, he had cut his first solo album, Patent Pending, credited to the Johnny Almond Music Machine, on which he played a half-dozen instruments. A year later came his second solo album, Hollywood Blues, also credited to the Johnny Almond Music Machine.

His biggest success came, however, when he joined up with his fellow Bluesbreaker alumnus, arranger/multi-instrumentalist Jon Mark to form the Mark-Almond Band, which lasted for most of the '70s (with a breakup in the middle) and generated a lot of great press and reviews, even if they didn't sell huge numbers of records after the early part of the decade. Since the late '70s, Almond has worked primarily as a session musician, but his name recognition is such that his 1969-1970 solo albums have found an audience on compact disc in the 21st century, at least in Japan and Europe.

Dusty Groove review
A stone groover from British multi-instrumentalist Johnny Almond -- stepping out here on a range of instruments that includes tenor, alto, flute, organ, vibes, and mellotron! Like Almond's other session from the time, the set's got a tightly arranged groove that feels a lot like some of the best funky soundtrack work of the late 60s -- an approach that has the larger band vamping in a mix of electric and acoustic instrumentation, while Almond soars out on expressive solos that nicely shift with the feel of each track! A few numbers take on a slightly exotic feel that we really love -- using heavy percussion and a bit of effects to emphasize the groove -- and a good part of the credit for the strength of the album should go to drummer Alan White, who's really cutting it up nicely here! Titles include a version of Yusef Lateef's "Before Dawn", plus the original numbers "Tales Of Junior", "Solar Level", "Voodoo Forest", "Pequeno Novo", and "To RK", a great tribute to Roland Kirk!

Johnny Almond - Sax [Tenor, Alto, Bari], Flute, Alto Flute, Organ, Vibraphone, Mellotron,
Bass Clarinet
Steve Hammond - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Roger Sutton - Bass, Claves
Alan White - Drums, Congas, Cowbell, Percussion
Jimmy Crawford - Electric Guitar
Johnny Wiggins - Piano, Organ
Geoff Condon - Trumpet, Flugelhorn

Producer - Mike Vernon

1 Ensingle
2 Before Dawn
3 Voodoo Forest
4 Solar Level
5 To R.K.
6 Reversed For Two Horns
7 Pequeno Nova
8 Tales Of Junior

I know My Favourite Records upped this a long time ago but I think this one sounds quite a bit fuller. No disrespect, JazzyPier! Especially since MFS is where I was finally able to hear his follow up, Hollywood Blues! If you haven't already scooped this up at MFS, you can lift it from Soundological HERE or HERE.


E-mile said...

cheeba: EXCELLENT! Bass clarinet in full effect, flute idem dito etc
Another killer, thanks man!
peace, E-mile

Reza said...

Such an underated album , recommended

cheeba said...

e-mile, thought you'd be happy with some bass clarinet ;-)

reza, couldn't agree with you more!

johnv said...

I'm real curious about this one, thanks Cheeba. E-Mile and Reza are good judges of talent so I'm sure it will be great.

Gianni said...

conoscevo anche il successivo lp della band,
ma mi pare che questo sia migliore del successivo.
sperando di non essermi sbagliato, ringrazio per aver rispolverato le mie memorie sonore e fatto riascoltare un disco che mi piaceva molto.
thank you

cheeba said...

johnv, can't agree with you more. they have turned me on to so much excellent music and reza was the one that nudged me into starting the blog in the first place! hope you dig it!

cheeba said...

mi pare anche questo sia migliore del successivo. buona memoria e benvento :)

mark said...

Hi Cheeba, this is an incredibly good transcription from vinyl to mp3, truly amazing! Been after this album on mp3 for a long while, many thanks for your efforts.