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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1969 Jazz- Rock, Blues Trailblazing
First, purchase the 1992 Restless/Metrotone Original CD release of this music which is not a remaster from a vinyl record but is from the original studio Master Tape from the 1969-1970 Alan Douglas, Stefan Bright production. "Devotion" must be clearly heard without distractions.

This music is very important in that it is a continuation along the trail blazed by...
Published on September 5, 2005 by Keith N. Moore

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars QUESTIONABLE REMASTERING
I bought this item on the strength of the REMASTERING claim, only to discover that a vinyl edition of the recording was used - and it shows. At various points, analogue hiss can be discerned and even a crackle or two. This re-release does the magnificent original recording a disservice. It is time this fusion classic was given the state-of-the-art remake it deserves...
Published on August 24, 2005 by donkey_shot


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1969 Jazz- Rock, Blues Trailblazing, September 5, 2005
This review is from: Devotion (Audio CD)
First, purchase the 1992 Restless/Metrotone Original CD release of this music which is not a remaster from a vinyl record but is from the original studio Master Tape from the 1969-1970 Alan Douglas, Stefan Bright production. "Devotion" must be clearly heard without distractions.

This music is very important in that it is a continuation along the trail blazed by Jimi Hendrix (Electric Ladyland and the Band of Gypsys ), The Cream (Wheels of Fire), Miles Davis (Miles in the Sky, In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew) and The Tony Williams Lifetime (Emergency and Turn it Over the latter recording included drummer Tony Williams, John McLaughlin , Larry Young (Khalid Yasin) and bassist Jack Bruce).

John McLaughlin began this journey jamming with Graham Bond, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker with the Graham Bond Organization back in 1964 in London blues clubs, when the world was intensly focused on the Beatles and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" music.

As we fast-forward 5 years to 1969, New York City, John has been initiated into the Miles Davis Directions movement with The Tony Williams Lifetime being his main focus for his evolving musical talents. Jimi Hendrix was also in New York successfully taking the electric guitar far beyond traditional rock borders, and John, with the music of Devotion, is attempting to tap this base and create one of his own. Guitarist Eric Clapton and the Cream in 1968 were also expanding the boundaries of rock and blues jamming as can be clearly heard on the recording "Wheels of Fire" on the portions that were recorded live at the Fillmore.

Devotion is the crucial mix of a Jazz-Rock, Blues guitarist, a Jazz keyboardist, a Blues/Rock drummer (very similar to Ginger Baker), and a Rock/Blues Bassist with slight overtones of the Beatles. I know, that all sounds way, way-out but that's what this music is, a true Jazz-Rock-Blues fusion mix. This fusion mix is one of the very first outside of the Tony Williams Lifetime which included John and Larry. Also heard on Devotion are Buddy Miles and Billy Rich who both jammed and recorded with Jimi Hendrix. Buddy Miles was also appearing live with Jimi Hendrix and Billy Cox in the Band of Gypsys when this music was recorded.

John's guitar playing at the top of this music is just superb. The interplay between all musicians is clearly heard here as both John and Larry clocked many hours together with the Tony Williams Lifetime and Miles Davis and clearly have a musical and spiritual feel for one and other. Buddy and Billy also have great feel for each other after playing and recording in the the Buddy Miles Express and later jamming and recording with Jimi Hendrix. In the case of Billy Rich, it was recommended that he and not Billy Cox replace Noel Redding in the Jimi Hendrix Band, but due to a past friendship with Jimi, Billy Cox won out.

The three compositions which I feel define this production are "Devotion", "The Dragon Song" and "Purpose of When." Take the time to listen and you too will hear the expanded Rock, Blues, and Jazz improvisations (with no vocals) and the lack of traditional Rock/blues musical confinement that these four musicians experience as they blaze this unchartered trail. As you listen, remember that at the time of this release The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Band of Gypsys, and the Cream have all disbanded, and no Mahavishnu Orchestra, Chick Corea & Return to Forever, Jeff Beck & Jan Hammer Band, Terje Rypdal Band, or Soft Machine with Allan Holdsworth exist yet.

John told me personally that he "did not like the production aspect of this recording" and he "did not recognize the post production recording." Buddy stated he also did not care for the recording for different reasons. This is the confusing aspect to all this as I feel the recording and post recording remix as a whole make this music exactly what it is, one unique, great recording. Alan Douglas and Stefan Bright colored the sound with great success just as Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles (with George Martin) both worked wonders with the post recording remixes. I feel one of the issues here is John, being a straight ahead Jazz/Blues musician was just not accustomed to unseen expanded mixing techniques used here in the States and in England to create a larger presentation of a musical production to appeal to a larger audience. I have owned this music since 1970 and still enjoy it 35 years later. Check it out!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars QUESTIONABLE REMASTERING, August 24, 2005
By 
This review is from: Devotion (Audio CD)
I bought this item on the strength of the REMASTERING claim, only to discover that a vinyl edition of the recording was used - and it shows. At various points, analogue hiss can be discerned and even a crackle or two. This re-release does the magnificent original recording a disservice. It is time this fusion classic was given the state-of-the-art remake it deserves. Plus, there must also be a number of unreleased tracks still lying in Douglas Records` vaults. However, once again, the music industry is asleep at the wheel...
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy the import, August 13, 2001
By 
Theodore J Lake Jr (Hopewell, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Devotion (Audio CD)
Let me start out my saying that Devotion is an excellent album that any John Mclaughlin fan or fan of early fusion should own. This album would definately receive a five star vote from me. So I suppose you are wondering why the three star rating then. It is do to the remastering of this album. Now usually I am a big advocate of remastering albums, it brings the music to today's standards making them sound more fresh and new. But this remastering is full of scrathes, chips, and burps for lack of better terms, it makes the recording annoying and just plain ticks me off. I also own the import of Devotion, and on a side to side comparison that one sounds just as good without the annoyances that I stated this album has. Futhermore the import is only [price] so you don't have to worry about paying more for this fantastic album. Do yourself a favor and get the import and not the flawed domestic release.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the Album, not this release, July 10, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Devotion (Audio CD)
If you love Hendrix, or the Larry Coryell of Barefoot Boy, or the guitar-playing on Miles Davis' Jack Johnson (part McLaughlin, and part Sonny Sharrock, apparently), then find a good edition of this album, because it is very good. I loved it when it was first released (heard it in 1969, I think), and it has held up. I must have bought a dozen or more copies back then for friends in Ireland who could not get it. McL dismisses this album, as do Jazz & Pop reviewers, and the Penguin Jazz book, but listen to it, and decide for yourself. There was a flow, a spontaneity, and a sense of excitement here that was entirely missing (for me) in all of the stilted Mahavishnu recordings.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good enough, May 16, 2010
By 
This review is from: Devotion (Audio CD)
While Devotion definitely isn't in the same league as the mind-blowingly fantastic and rock-solid intense jazz fusion creation that is the Mahavishnu Orchestra, it does have its moments.

What immediately surprises me the most about Devotion is that it's not nearly as tightly constructed as say, any given Mahavishnu Orchestra album. This is most definitely a dated, psychedelic album with just sprinkes of McLaughlin's guitar magic (that being his furious and passionate guitar solos- the album simply doesn't contain THAT many of them).

The songwriting also feels rather aimless, like McLaughlin wasn't quite sure which direction he wanted to take at the time it was recorded.

That's actually a disappointment since I am a HUGE Mahavishnu Orchestra fan so I probably assumed wrong and went in expecting more or less the same kind of furious passion as the Inner Mounting Flame, for example.

However, a part of me must also remember that this album was released *before* Mahavishnu Orchestra was formed, so with THAT in mind, Devotion is interesting for the sake of curiosity and for the sake of finding out where McLaughlin's groundbreaking formula began, even when the songwriting definitely doesn't compare to anything from the Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire, Between Nothingness and Eternity, Apocalypse, and Visions of the Emerald Beyond.

Devotion also contains some McLaughlin ideas that he'd use for his Mahavishnu Orchestra albums in the near future, so it's interesting to hear them in this context.

Also worth noting is that the bad quality of the recording can actually be seen as a bonus since it gives the atmosphere a really murky and distant feeling, almost like being trapped in a rainforest of some sorts (using my imagination of course!)

Overall, not a classic, but Devotion *does* contain some solid guitar skills. Those moments just don't appear very often which means I don't wanna recommend it to Mahavishnu Orchestra fans.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is got to be one of the best McLaughlin cd's ever, May 30, 2002
By 
D. Rapport (seattle, wa United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Devotion (Audio CD)
Hey...forget what everyone else might have said about this album...do you like really trippy jam rock/jazz? Well, if you do this is about as good as it gets. I think it's definatley one of the most supercharged, energetic, and rocking albums that McLaughlin ever did (besides "Visions of the Emerald Beyond"-his other really great album). Did you like "The Inner Mounting Flame" and "birds of Fire"? This album really smokes those other two: it's less heady and more meandering but it just rocks more! Check this album out, if you like Mclaughlin you're gonna love this!
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12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT aping Hendrix, NOT remastered, February 6, 2003
By 
W. Messman "billynorm" (Lincoln, NE United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Devotion (Audio CD)
McLaughlin could have easily "aped" Hendrix, but he never did. Even though Buddy Miles (who stank up every session he ever played on) plays on it, I love this album, but not this version of it. This CD was "remastered" from a vinyl copy & for that reason alone, I would say avoid it if you can. If you can't, "any port in a storm."
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good psychedelic jamming!, April 14, 2007
By 
This review is from: Devotion (Audio CD)
This is an odd ball in the Mclaughlin catalog. Don't expect his jazzrock fusion wizardry as in other albums from this period. There is some mind bending and sound processing post production that you could more easily relate to the music of artist like Hendrix or early Embryo. Great , different Bluesy-late 60's-rock-ish stuff!! Get the old remastering job on some old editions, as this is taken from vinyl (the bastards)!
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So Devoted, June 21, 2002
This review is from: Devotion (Audio CD)
I have always loved John McLaughlin's music. So when they rereleased his album, Devotion, I was sure to pick one up. I have always enjoyed the hard blues rock sound of the album with songs like "Purpose of When" and the inevitable "Devotion'. It is a quality pick up, even if you still own it in vinyl!!!
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars this album is trippy fusion, March 8, 2002
By 
blong ('COUVER, BC, CANADA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Devotion (Audio CD)
The first guy who wrote a review saying that McLaughlin was "aping Hendrix" is stupid. This album is awesome, far more harmonically elegant than Hendrix usually was. The playing is inspired and primordial. The production is good - very live, almost raw. I heard this album for the first time this week and I much prefer it to Mahavishnu Orchestra (wish I've heard for the last 15 years). I thought Mahavishnu were sometimes brilliant but generally selfindulgant wankers.
Buy this album. Buy Magma's "UDU WUDU" album too.
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Devotion
Devotion by John McLaughlin (Audio CD - 2001)
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