John McLaughlin: New York on My Mind


New York on My Mind


John McLaughlin (electric guitar)


Johnny McLaughlin: Electric Guitarist (Columbia CK 46110)

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John McLaughlin (electric guitar), Billy Cobham (drums),

Stu Goldberg (keyboards), Jerry Goodman (violin), Fernando Saunders (bass)


Composed by John McLaughlin


Recorded: New York, January 1978


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

This cut is the closest the original Mahavishnu Orchestra ever got to reconciliation. Five years after the band's acrimonious breakup, Billy Cobham and Jerry Goodman joined McLaughlin for "New York on My Mind." The title had real meaning for McLaughlin. He has often suggested that without NYC, there never would have been a Mahavishnu Orchestra. The city's true melting-pot nature and abundance of great musicians created the necessary atmosphere and gene pool for Mahavishnu to be born.

Sixty-percent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra does not make the Mahavishnu Orchestra. But "New York on My Mind" is a stirring example of the telepathy McLaughlin, Cobham and Goodman still shared. Keyboard wizard Goldberg also possessed that chemistry with McLaughlin. Bassist Saunders was no slouch either. "New York on My Mind" is a slow ballad punctuated by high-register bursts. After a few purposeful thuds from Cobham, McLaughlin and Goodman double-up on the melody. McLaughlin used a new guitar that featured a scalloped fretboard. Based on the design of the Indian instrument the vina, the scalloped board allowed him to pull down on the strings to produce the biggest bends in Western guitar history. (Please excuse the hyperbole. But your ears won't lie.) Goodman's sound had changed too. It was much cleaner than his distorted playing on the Mahavishnu recordings. The two new sounds, in simpatico, create the atmospherics. Goldberg, as always, offers wonderful keyboard playing.

I would suggest that the New York that McLaughlin had on his mind was the city at night. There is a slight dark undertone to the piece at times. "New York on My Mind" is a fully realized composition performed by stalwarts of the original fusion movement, and is worthy of its great players.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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  • 1 Derrick // Apr 11, 2008 at 03:03 AM
    Yea, man defenitly one of Mclaughlin's most underrated compositions. I have been waiting for someone to do a page dedicated to that song. It's simply amazing. It's a ballad but not really a balad, you know. Your right about Goodman. Oh yea do another tribute page to phoenomenon compulsion!!!