Rolling Stone - 12/24/70, p.54
"...USA UNION is a very pleasant album....Mayall in 1970 is pure Librium - safe, soothing, non-toxic, non-habituating and very specific."
Personnel: John Mayall, Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Larry Taylor, Harvey Mandel.
Personnel: John Mayall (vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards); Harvey Mandel (guitar); Don "Sugarcane" Harris (violin); Larry Taylor (bass guitar).
Liner Note Author: Leonard Feather.
Recording information: Larrabee Studios, Los Angeles, CA (07/27/1970-07/28/1970).
Photographers: Nancy Throckmorton; Bob Gordon ; Tapani Tapanainen.
John Mayall's "Turning Point" band -- Jon Mark, Johnny Almond, and Steve Thompson -- broke up in June 1970 after a European tour, with Mark and Almond forming their own band, appropriately named Mark-Almond. Mayall then assembled his first all-American band, consisting of violinist Don "Sugarcane" Harris, guitarist Harvey Mandel, and bassist Larry Taylor, and recorded this album in July. It had more drive than the previous outfit, and Mayall turned to environmentalism on the lead-off track, "Nature's Disappearing." (The original album jacket contained recycling information, too.) But much of his low-volume, reflective approach remained on an album that was still more of a jazz-pop outing than the blues sessions of his early career. Although The Turning Point is Mayall's biggest U.S. seller, USA Union had the highest chart peak of his career, hitting #22. But in the U.K., where its title confirmed Mayall's U.S. leanings (he had been living in California for two years), the album showed a big drop-off in his usual sales, spending only one week in the charts at #50. ~ William Ruhlmann