Original USA Alan Douglas vinyl LP release backUnfortunately the initials of the previous owner are on the back
Original USA Alan Douglas vinyl LP release insideWow, fantastic! This picture really suits the music!
Many people recognize John McLaughlin as the mastermind behind the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and from the Miles Davis fusion records such as In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew and Jack Johnson. But that is not all, my friends: John McLaughlin has also recorded a fabulous acid rock album called Devotion.
I have read some interviews where John has stated that Alan Douglas, the producer of this record, has organized the musical material in a way that was not the John's preference. If I understood correctly, some songs are in the wrong order, or maybe even parts of the songs are not in the order that John envisioned them.
Well, who can question McLaughlin's integrity here? I certainly believe what he says, especially when considering that Alan Douglas has a somewhat controversial reputation in the record business. But whatever the truth in this matter, the Devotion album is nevertheless great. Alan Douglas has not ruined it.
Buddy Miles, familiar from the Hendrix's Band of Gypsys plays drums in his usual, simple, straighforward way. That is perhaps fitting, because it leaves room for McLaughlin's strange melodies and harmonies. Larry Young plays organ, and he does it fantastically, but does not take many solos. Instead, he provides cool harmonies and John plays the guitar like there is no tomorrow. His guitar tone is fantastically fluid and there is just the right amount of distortion. The wah-wah pedal is put to a good use here too!
I must confess that I grew so obsessed with this record that I listened to it non-stop for a long time. Undoubtedly, Devotion is among my all time favourites. I just had to learn the basic themes of some of these songs on the electric guitar.
This is a top-notch, amazing, forgotten little gem of psychedelic rock. John's playing is, once again, completely unique here, and it is totally different from the Miles Davis acid jazz records and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I actually wish John had made more records in this genre, but fortunately, at least he made this one. By the way, Carlos Santana and Buddy Miles covered the song Marbles on their collaboration album Live! (1972). It is hard to say which version is better, as both of them are very good and very much "out there"!
While Devotion contains long pieces with very weird melodies and harmonies, I feel this record is more easily accessible than the Mahavishnu Orchestra records. I highly recommend it for fans of psychedelic rock and to all those who want to expand their minds. The best way of listening to this is in a relaxed, enjoyable mood with no external distractions. For me, it always requires concentration and preferably headphones.
You know what? I have gone through this music countless times, but I still feel I am expanding right now while listening to Devotion. Let's float!