Mahavishnu John McLaughlin: Song For My Mother


Song For My Mother


John McLaughlin (acoustic guitar)


My Goal's Beyond (Rykodisc RCD 10051)

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John McLaughlin (acoustic guitar).

Composed by John McLaughlin


Recorded: New York, March 1971


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

One entire side of the My Goal's Beyond LP famously featured McLaughlin playing solo acoustic guitar. Well, that's not quite true. Actually on "Song for My Mother" and a tune or two more, there are some well-placed percussive elements. There were three soon-to-be-legendary percussionists on the session. You can choose to believe the percussion was added by Billy Cobham, Airto Moreira or Badal Roy. Or it could have been McLaughlin or anyone else for that matter! My best guess is that it was Airto.

"Song for My Mother" has an aggressive Latin-tinged introduction. Through overdubbing, McLaughlin plays atop his own frenetic chords. Everyone knows that he has a unique lead-guitar style. But his imaginative chord playing and sensitive accompanying have always set McLaughlin even farther apart from his contemporaries. For fans used to his wildly electric sojourns, hearing him jell and duel with himself on beautiful acoustic guitar was a revelation. On this number, the ridiculous speed was still there, but its presentation was cleaner and more pristine. Also of note was his use of harmonics. The combination of his touch, powerfully strummed chords, angular speed-demon runs and melodic sensibilities indicated this musician was going to change the way we perceived the acoustic guitar. After all, he had already started doing the same thing for the electric version.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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