Mark - Almond

Jon Mark and Johnny Almond originally met while doing session work on the album, “John Mayall’s Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton” in 1965. Johnny Almond also worked with Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band and The Alan Price Set. He recorded two solo albums in the late 60s and early 70s titled “Johnny Almond’s Music Machine”. 
Jon Mark had done some busking, (performing on the streets), with Alun Davies in the early 60s. They recorded one album together in 1963, “Relax Your Mind”. Alun later became Cat Steven’s guitarist and Jon Mark went on to co-produce, with Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithful’s first recordings. He played guitar on some of her songs and backed her live performances. He was very influential to her early sound. 
Jon Mark later formed Sweet Thursday with Nicky Hopkins and old pal, Alun Davies . They recorded one album. John Mayall, then looking for a new band, remembered working with Jon Mark and Johnny Almond and invited them to join. They recorded two fine albums, “Turning Point" and “Empty Rooms”. They found that they had similar musical interests and formed their own band. Together they recorded 6 studio albums from 1971 to 1978. Their music was very diverse, infusing folk and blues music with American and Latin jazz. At times expanding with an African beat, they took their music to new levels of creativity. Jon Mark’s delicate, introspective songs were complimented by Johnny Almond’s jazz / blues saxophone and flute. Their first three albums were popular on American FM radio. Mark-Almond expanded their audience with numerous tours in the US that led to headlining major concerts. At the peak of their success, they disbanded. Their last concert was at Bill Graham’s Winterland on November 3rd, 1973. I was there when they announced it was their last performance together. 
Jon Mark went on to record a solo album. Mark-Almond reformed in 1976 to record two more albums before going their separate ways.

My friends and I saw Mark-Almond 
perform three times in 1973. 
You can see photos from two of those concerts 
and read our memoirs at - 
Brit Rock By The Bay

Pages from my scrapbook.
Below are photos taken at Bill Graham's
 Winterland in San Francisco in 1973.
I met Jon Mark and Johnny Almond and 
got their autographs. 
The ticket stub from the first time I saw them perform
in 1973 at Maples Pavilion. They opened for John
Mayall, but did not play with his band.
A couple of photos of my friends and I 
waiting at the Maples Pavilion gate. 
The photos below were taken by Dan Cuny
at that concert. The drummer is long time Mayall
band member, Keef Hartley. 
A history of the band 
from "The Rolling Stone
Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll"
© Rolling Stone Press 1983.
"The Rock Family Tree"
published by Omnibus Press 1993.
© Pete Frame
An Ad for their first album.
Johnny Almond appeared on one 
more John Mayall album while 
recording with Mark-Almond
An interview with Jon Mark on 
June 1971. He gives details of the 
formation of the band, it's future
 and his time working
with John Mayall. 
An ad for their second album.
An Ad for their third album.
An interview with John Mayall
taken in July 1972.
He mentions working with 
Jon Mark and Johnny Almond.
A review of a live performance
in March 1973.
A review of their fourth 
album. The first side
is live. The second side 
is new, studio recordings.
An Ad for their fifth album.
An interview from Down Beat 
magazine from February 1974.
A review of Jon Mark's 
solo album, 
July 1975.

Here some of the albums in my collection
that make up the story of Mark-Almond.

Their first album was released in 1971. Other band 
members were Tommy Eyre, (keyboards) and 
Rodger Sutton, (bass & percussion). All but one 
song was composed by Jon Mark.
The album design had a unique flap, like an 
envelope. The title is embossed and the only printing
on the back cover is the Blue Thumb logo. 
Their second album was released in 1972. It had
the same flap and similar graphics as the first, only the 
title is in color and the songs are printed on the back. New 
band member, Dannie Richmond, (drums, percussion), 
had previously worked with Charles Mingus. 
All but one song was composed by Jon Mark.
Their third album. It had a new look and new band
members, Geoff Condon, (horns), Ken Craddock, 
(keyboards), Colin Gibson, (bass). Dannie 
Richmond, (percussion) stayed on.
All but one song was composed by Jon Mark.
Their fourth album was half live and half studio.
New members were Wolfgang Melz, (bass),
Bobby Torres, (percussion), and old pal, Alun Davies.
All songs composed by Jon Mark.
In the introduction Jon Mark thanks Dr. Victor 
Hay-Roe. Jon Mark had lost part of his ring finger
in a fall. The doctor made it possible for 
him to continue playing guitar.
The band split and Jon Mark released a solo album.
Mark-Almond reformed to record two more albums.
Jon Mark's first album was with Alun Davies. 
It was recorded in 1963.
Jon Mark co-produced Marianne Faithfull's albums 
with Mick Jagger. He also backed her on guitar.
The back cover.
A close-up from the back cover.
Jon's first group, Sweet Thursday. It included Alun
Davies and Nicky Hopkins. They recorded the one 
album before the Fontana label went bankrupt.
Alun Davies recorded a solo album, "Daydo"
in 1972. Jon Mark wrote an introduction 
on the back cover.
Johnny Almond recorded two solo albums 
as "Johnny Almond's Music Machine" in 
1969 and 1970.
Jon Mark played on Johnny Almond's Music 
Machine. They decided they liked working together.
Jon Mark and Johnny Almond both did session 
work on "Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton"
in 1965. It was the first time they
worked together. 
Jon Mark and Johnny Almond joined John Mayall's
band in 1969 and recorded two albums with him.
The last album they both played  
on with John Mayall

Jon Mark moved to New Zealand and continues
to record New Age and Celtic music.
Johnny Almond moved to California and 
 performed in local festivals in the 
Bay Area until his death from cancer 
on November 18, 2009.

These pictures of Johnny Almond 
were taken shortly before he died.
The photographer is unknown.

Related websites 

Recommended Listening

My thanks to Graziano Vergnaghi
for his generous contributions to this blog.

2 comments:

  1. David please call me @ 408-829-0441.
    I'm Jim McKee. I have a copy of Johnny's last performance in 9/'09.
    I worked with Johnny and this show.
    When you call I'll give you all the details. If I don't answer please leave a message as to when a good time would be for you. Thank You, Jim

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  2. I am a former pop music journalist and a big Mark-Almond fan. Does anyone have any unreleased performances? Thanks.

    Gary

    ReplyDelete