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35 Years later and it's got better,
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This review is from: Birds Of Fire (Audio CD)
When it came out in 1973 this was one of those 'never heard anything like it before moments'. I was aware of the previous The Inner Mounting Flame which had felt somewhat bitty and disconected to me (but maybe it's time I gave that another try too), but nothing prepared me for the sheer venomousness of this album. I've ummed and ahhd about reacquiring it for a while, but it arrived yesterday, and as it hit my deck it immediately plastered me to to the opposite wall.
At the time McLaughlin was an anomoly. While everyone else wore jeans and raggy tea-shirts and had hair down on their shoulders, this guy dressed in white and had a crew cut that made him look like a suspiciously friendly marine. In an age where anyone with a brain was 'looking for something' John was considered the archetypal 'spiritual' musician. One of those who'd seemed to have found what the rest of us were 'looking for'. Even then though, there was such a clear contradiction - how does such a spiritual man compose and play such utterly demonic music? It certainly caused me to rethink what the term 'spiritual' might actually mean.