Has there been a thread about John Martyn?

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I originally bought Solid Air because of the Nick Drake connection, but now listen to it all the time (& ND rarely if at all). Imagine a gutsier, bluesier Nick Drake...Nick Drake with a beard...Nick Drake after a skinful of ale & a row with his wife.

So John Martyn S/D - what else apart from Solid Air?

bham, Tuesday, 24 September 2002 11:12 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Inside Out was released less than a year after SA & is almost as good - messier, jazzier (big Coltrane influence). A must-buy.
Later stuff v patchy - if he'd disappeared in the 70s he would be a legend.

bt, Tuesday, 24 September 2002 11:17 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

um actually not much like nick at all - nick drake is very introverted whilst john martyn seems much more - um - well extroverted isn't the word but there's an anger rather than the resignation that seaps through the drake stuff. he wanders into AOR hell quite soon and got on far too well with phil collins thus making bad white funk records but your life is not complete without the songs "glistening glyndeborne", "stormbringer" and especially "small hours" which is one of teh most beautiful songs ever. there's a good island "an introduction to.." at mid price but make sure you don't listen to the second half because it will make you want to rip your ears off...

commonswings, Tuesday, 24 September 2002 11:18 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Some of the later stuff like One World is not half as bad as is being made out above.

I also really liked a track he did with Talvin Singh about 5 years back called Sunshine's Better. I think it got played before Orbital came on stage at Glastonbury this year. Sweet.

tigerclawskank, Tuesday, 24 September 2002 11:21 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Commonswings is OTM. Stormbringer! in particular has to be one of the most achingly beautiful songs about unrequited love ever written, and that's up against some pretty stiff competition.

J Martyn is emphatically NOT a Donovan-esque folkie "sitting on the edge of a mushroom admiring the dingly-dangly-dell of life" as Martyn himself put it. Solid Air is the best album track by track, but there's some great stuff to be found on Inside Out, Bless the Weather, One World and even Grace and Danger.

chris sallis, Tuesday, 24 September 2002 11:31 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, Grace and Danger is ace

Search (songs): "Sweet Little Mystery", "Hole In The Rain", "Johnny Too Bad" (long version), "I Don't Want To Know"... and probably more I can't remember.

Jeff W (Jeff W), Tuesday, 24 September 2002 11:40 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I just got "Solid Air" recently. It's very, very intense. Much harder on the ears than Nick Drake, but well worth perseverance. A rewarding album.

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Tuesday, 24 September 2002 13:19 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

solid air is beautiful but i nevah got round to anything else by him.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 24 September 2002 15:04 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I've only got the island 'intro to..' and i quite liked it but haven't heared anything else, can someone explain the whole 'echoplex' thing and is it any good?

el wanko, Tuesday, 24 September 2002 17:24 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

So Solid Air is a consensus must then, but I'd also like to second (or third) Bless the Weather--the title track's worth the price of admission alone, plus Danny Thompson in the bargain.

The '80s/'90s weren't kind. His music got all cheesy and Sting-y and his vocals/lyrics became nearly incomprehensible (if the rumors are true, he got his distinctive slurring out of a bottle). A pal of mine's a great fan and even he makes jokes about, say, Martyn's cover of "Johnny Too Bad."

Lee G (Lee G), Tuesday, 24 September 2002 18:37 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Check out "Road to Ruin" w/Beverly Martyn (if that counts). The first side (especially "Sorry to Be So Long") is quite strong...

Joe (Joe), Wednesday, 25 September 2002 00:40 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I bought "One World" because the idea of a John Martyn / Lee Perry collaboration (Big Muff) blew my mind. Sadly the idea is better than the result: it would have been better if Scratch had recorded it himself.

bt, Wednesday, 25 September 2002 08:59 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
Agree with Inside Out and One World - both excellent.

I'm pissed off I can't get to see him next Wednesday at the QEH. Has anyone seen him live recently?

James Ball (James Ball), Saturday, 8 May 2004 23:29 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

He has one leg now!!!!!!!!!!!!! The other was amputated below the knne in a gangrenous ganglion secenario that had absolutely nothing to do with alcohol abuse...... honest.

Dadaismus (Dada), Sunday, 9 May 2004 12:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Saw him live last week @ Nottingham Royal Concert Hall. Desperately disappointing, especially in comparison to the last time I saw him c.3 years ago when he was outstanding. Venue too big (& sparsely attended); Martyn & his 3 piece band just didn't know how to fill it. No intimacy. Lots of dull jazzy noodling all round; too polite, too tasteful, too Demonstration CD In Hi Fi Shop. Martyn's vocals slurred & unintellgible to the point of self-parody. Songs mushed into each other, all on one level, impossible to maintain concentration. For health reasons (he's not a well man since the amputation), he now plays 2 sets: 1st is 30 minutes, 2nd is an hour. The boyfriend and I left after the first set. Our two friends stayed for the second and said:

Odd night - it was the lack of drugs (him and us) combined with an oversized venue that did it, we reckoned. 'Greatest Hits' second half with lots of 'Solid Air', Bless the Weather etc, but Martyn failed to ignite until the final two songs, without guitar, which he gave his all (Rock Salt and Nails, Never Let Me Go), then an undistinguished encore.

mike t-diva (mike t-diva), Monday, 10 May 2004 08:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Jesus, that is depressing.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Monday, 10 May 2004 17:37 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

For me, "Solid Air", "Bless the Weather" and "One World" are where it's at. That and the two records recorded with Beverly Martin: "Stormbringer" and "Road to Ruin" - these two are great.

"One World" does appear to be getting more grief than it deserves; it's great... The last track is incredible but you really need to turn it up to 11 to appreciate it.

I'd be interested to hear Nick McCabe on John Martyn's new record too; pretty like minded people I figure.

Keith Watson (kmw), Monday, 10 May 2004 21:05 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i saw him solo in about 79 as a teenager. he's had to borrow equipment as his was fucked. the gig was one long dream of echoed out slurs, searing dub-ambient driftworks and the occasional folk song. never heard anything like it again.

mullygrubber (gaz), Monday, 10 May 2004 21:31 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

That sounds incredible.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Tuesday, 11 May 2004 13:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
I just discovered Bless the Weather through a friend and am really, really into it. What a beautiful record!

gut buddy, Wednesday, 5 October 2005 10:51 (twelve years ago) Permalink

first few records remastered and rereleased at the moment, really looking forward to them

Masked Gazza, Wednesday, 5 October 2005 10:56 (twelve years ago) Permalink

They are in Fopp for a fiver, now. "London Conversation" is, certainly.

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 5 October 2005 11:00 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Just picked up the Stormbringer reissue today - gonna smoke an obscene amount of weed and spend the night listening to it on repeat

God Buddy, Tuesday, 11 October 2005 00:10 (twelve years ago) Permalink

o man.

mullygrubbr (bulbs), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 06:43 (twelve years ago) Permalink

We've been playing Martyn for unborn baby. The baby loves it. Kicks and moves around when we played it.

nathalie, a bum like you (stevie nixed), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 06:52 (twelve years ago) Permalink

weird. i never heard of this guy before until his "fly on home" just played on pandora.com. and here this thread was, right in front of me! so anyway, I like him.

richard wood johnson, Tuesday, 11 October 2005 20:57 (twelve years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
http://static.flickr.com/88/241517446_350f481823.jpg !!!!

jaxon (jaxon), Thursday, 19 October 2006 20:43 (eleven years ago) Permalink

When did he take to playing kid-sized guitars? Oh wait...

doug watson (solid air), Friday, 20 October 2006 00:11 (eleven years ago) Permalink

his catalogue is really mixed... lots of smoove jazzy stuff you don't want... but "may you never" is one of my all-time faves

marc h. (marc h.), Friday, 20 October 2006 03:39 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I went with a friend who is a big fan, fairly recently (two legs).

I thought he was great! My friend thought he was massively disappointing. So go figure.

I have "London Conversation" as my dad was present at the session. Why, I have never been able to work out. He told me a couple of stories of the day, and it was about fifteen years later the same stories were in Mojo (a nick drake article) from a woman who was also there. I asked him if he remembered a tall lad, he said no.

mark grout (mark grout), Friday, 20 October 2006 09:05 (eleven years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

caek, Saturday, 21 April 2007 13:57 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'm all over that Grace And Danger re-issue...totally missed out on this the first time around...

henry s, Saturday, 21 April 2007 14:12 (eleven years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

homie is awes

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Thursday, 28 February 2008 22:12 (ten years ago) Permalink

We used to drink a great deal together. I got really drunk one night and woke up and Danny Thompson had nailed me under the carpet. I couldn’t move my hands or feet. I was very dry and had a hangover and I said Danny, please… get me, get me a drink. So he stepped over my helpless body, went to the phone and in a very loud voice said, can I have a glass of orange juice for one, please. Breakfast for one, please. I was screaming blue murder by this time. I was furious! He met the guy in the hall, so the guy couldn’t get into the room and see what was happening. He sat in front and downed the orange juice and had the breakfast.

caek, Friday, 29 February 2008 13:55 (ten years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Amazon.co.uk are currently flogging a few of the reissues for £2.98. Am hugely enjoying Inside Out. Are Grace and Danger or London Conversation vital purchases? (They've also got Sunday's Child and One World at that price at the mo).

NickB, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 11:07 (nine years ago) Permalink

(maybe we should have a thread for cheap stuff on Amazon?)

NickB, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 11:07 (nine years ago) Permalink

London Conv is pretty much yr standard 'folk singer's first album' stuff.

Mark G, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 11:10 (nine years ago) Permalink

I guessed it was and passed on it (got The Payback instead).

NickB, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 11:18 (nine years ago) Permalink

Yeah lots of these John Martyn CDs are three quid in Glasgow Fopp at the moment - they also have all of Sandy Denny's solo recs, cpl of Richard and Linda Thompsons and some Fairport stuff at the same price

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 11:43 (nine years ago) Permalink

I got Unhalfbricking, just cause it was £3.

Man! That 'sailor's story' sounds like Tom Verlaine guitaring!

Mark G, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 11:46 (nine years ago) Permalink

yeah, verlaine's gtr sound = 50% jerry garcia, 50% richard thompson - the version of 'Sloth' on the Fairport Convention live at the LA Troubadour set is especially Television-like, tho' Sailor's LIFE always sounds to me more like FT trying to be the Velvet Underground

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 12:12 (nine years ago) Permalink

Talking of guitaring, there's an amazing similarity between the bonus track version of 'Outside In' and the Edge on 'Where The Streets Have No Name'.

NickB, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 14:00 (nine years ago) Permalink

tho' Sailor's LIFE always sounds to me more like FT trying to be the Velvet Underground

Yes, that occurred to me too.

Mark G, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 14:14 (nine years ago) Permalink

(Who's FT btw?)

Mark G, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 14:14 (nine years ago) Permalink

Have been listening to "Go Easy" on repeat for a while now -- yeesh what a great song! The rest of Bless The Weather is great too, but that one is doing it for me right now. Woozy, wasted self absorption never sounded so good.

tylerw, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 14:56 (nine years ago) Permalink


NickB, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 18:51 (nine years ago) Permalink

let's balance out all these fat old John pics with an skinny young one.

tylerw, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 19:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

John's just received his second lifetime achievement award of this year (from Mojo - he got one from BBC Radio 2 in Feb). This does not bode well I fear.

NickB, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 20:50 (nine years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

A friend recently lent me the 'Live At Leeds (And More)' album and I finally got round to listening to it last night.

The Live In Leeds set itself, recorded October 1975, and self-released as a LP at the time, is absolutely amazing. Really powerful, rocking, freely extended versions of the tracks. Solid Air on there is wonderful.

The CD set has a second disc of other live stuff from over the years and is pretty patchy to my ears. Too much later stuff that was far too saccharine and sentimental, m.o.r. pish, BUT it ends with an incredible version of a track 'Anna', performed in 1983 at the Bottom Line club in NY.

Anyone know this one? A bit of reading about says that "Anna" was from a movie soundtrack and was an evolution of the track "Small Hours" from 'One World'.

I've only ever heard 'Solid Air' before, which I've fallen in love with over the course of this year. Nothing else I've sampled has clicked yet, but I'm going to explore a few others now.

krakow, Thursday, 3 December 2009 10:58 (eight years ago) Permalink

yow, good deal, gotta be a mistake, right? doesn't seem to be available in the usa :(
listened to sunday's child last week -- great record, if a bit all over the place. found myself wondering: "who the hell does this guy think he is?!"

tylerw, Monday, 7 October 2013 15:00 (four years ago) Permalink

The only thing about this is that there's no 'ebook' or suchlike, and all the MP3s seem to have the same Album Title for the idb tags.

Still, that's sort-outable..

Mark G, Monday, 7 October 2013 15:09 (four years ago) Permalink

Weirdly, 'Couldn't Love You More' has been popping up on various m8s fb/twitter feeds, incredible song...just took a punt on the Glorious Fool LP (£3 from a fruit/veg/record shop in New Cross)...might take a bit of getting into this...

the Shearer of simulated snowsex etc. (Dwight Yorke), Monday, 7 October 2013 17:47 (four years ago) Permalink

yow, good deal, gotta be a mistake, right? doesn't seem to be available in the usa :(
listened to sunday's child last week -- great record, if a bit all over the place. found myself wondering: "who the hell does this guy think he is?!"

― tylerw, Monday, October 7, 2013 4:00 PM (2 days ago)

Both links now dead so must have been a mistake.

I bought the Amazon one as it automatically added to my Cloud Player on Monday and told some friends about it but both Google Play and Amazon are no longer selling the MP3s.

groovypanda, Wednesday, 9 October 2013 06:52 (four years ago) Permalink


^ crazy scenes on Hastings beach with Big John

gotta lol geir (NickB), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 16:53 (four years ago) Permalink

middle of the day and the whole town looks pissed

gotta lol geir (NickB), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 16:53 (four years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

listening to 1987's piece by piece for the first time, thought i was in for an ugly horror show after the first track but some of it is very nice. even if at points it does sound like john has wandered in on some bloke playing around with a dx7 and decided to sing along.


Merdeyeux, Monday, 12 May 2014 17:59 (four years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

I still haven't warmed to this guy at all. Glorious Fool still sounds wispy.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 9 June 2017 19:35 (eleven months ago) Permalink

his best work is with phil collins tbh

kurt schwitterz, Friday, 9 June 2017 19:37 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Echoplex-era FTW


Camaraderie at Arms Length, Friday, 9 June 2017 20:05 (eleven months ago) Permalink

one or two songs on the new Slowdive really sound like him

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Monday, 12 June 2017 09:16 (eleven months ago) Permalink

You need to listen to "One World", Alfred

Well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Monday, 12 June 2017 09:36 (eleven months ago) Permalink

omg what alfred

Tim F, Monday, 12 June 2017 13:40 (eleven months ago) Permalink

not even "small hours"?

Tim F, Monday, 12 June 2017 13:40 (eleven months ago) Permalink

One World is revelatory

ciderpress, Monday, 12 June 2017 13:52 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Gonna give this revelatory album a spin in a few minutes. Stay tuned!

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 12 June 2017 14:30 (eleven months ago) Permalink

his 70s solo albums are really where it's at -- Bless the Weather - Solid Air - Inside Out - Sunday's Child - One World. If those don't do it for ya, he's probably not for you.

tylerw, Monday, 12 June 2017 14:35 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Solid Air and One World are holy. Can't imagine anyone not falling for the former in particular.
"Small Hours" is one his most gorgeous moments but may I dare saying that Robert Smith's cover of a few years back might even top it.

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Monday, 12 June 2017 15:32 (eleven months ago) Permalink

The small bit of vocals in small hours is the best thing ever

Heez, Monday, 12 June 2017 15:34 (eleven months ago) Permalink

he is really great

People like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr, and (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 12 June 2017 15:37 (eleven months ago) Permalink

bless the weather has the field beat for worst cover/best album
maybe some manuel gottsching/ashra competition but it's a contender at least

although i do not like sugar lump

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 12 June 2017 16:19 (eleven months ago) Permalink

there is probably a thread for that

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 12 June 2017 16:19 (eleven months ago) Permalink

thread for not liking sugar lump

or at night (Jon not Jon), Monday, 12 June 2017 17:35 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i learned last night that my friend's dad, an older musician, knew martyn, anne briggs and bert jansch o_O

or at night (Jon not Jon), Monday, 12 June 2017 17:37 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Glorious Fool still sounds wispy.

― the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 9 June 2017

Is this the first John Martyn album you've tried? Its an odd choice.

Well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Monday, 12 June 2017 19:05 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I mostly love 'Bless the Weather', it was the first JM album that clicked with me but, yeah, "Sugar Lump" and the artwork are not so great.

michaellambert, Monday, 12 June 2017 19:19 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I sympathise with Alfred. On paper, Martyn is exactly my sort of thing, but he just hasn't clicked with me. I own Solid Air and Stormbringer

Duke, Monday, 12 June 2017 19:21 (eleven months ago) Permalink

xxpost Jon, please grill your friend's father (for info, not for lunch)! Haven't really followed him, but agree that Solid Air and One World should convert the infidels if anything will. Also maybe Road To Ruin, with aforementioned wife Beverly---who also sounds good on John Renbourn's early 60s gypsy stash, Attic Tapes, finally out a couple years ago, and I carried on about it on the post-Fahey thread---ditto about the very recent album Renbourn's ancient colleague Wizz Jones did with fellow vet Pete Berryman and son Simeon Jones. The most specific Martyn connection I'm aware of on that 'un is a song inspired by the (or a) night Jones and and JM found themselves in deep freezing water.

dow, Monday, 12 June 2017 19:38 (eleven months ago) Permalink

the tune "give us a ring" is my favorite john & bev track. the rest are kind of dull imo! i love that song though.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 12 June 2017 20:11 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i'm a pretty big fan of "John the Baptist" off of Stormbringer


tylerw, Monday, 12 June 2017 20:55 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Is this the first John Martyn album you've tried? Its an odd choice.

― Well bissogled trotters (Michael B)

I own Inside Out and Well Kept Secret.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 12 June 2017 21:47 (eleven months ago) Permalink

It's a sweet little mystery

Heez, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 02:56 (eleven months ago) Permalink

hello! where exactly should one begin with john martyn?

joshywinty (josh), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 03:02 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I started with "Road To Ruin" then went to "One World" and then I was hooked forever. Love him.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 04:08 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I like Bless the Weather, Solid Air, Inside Out, Live At Leeds, One World and the solo with Echoplex Battle of Medway. That was recorded in 73 I think and put out about 10 years back.

Don't like his treatment of Beverly.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 06:53 (eleven months ago) Permalink

"Musically it was just dreadful. It was appalling at that point. It was dominated by real second-ratedness. All the great Sixties heroes had disintegrated into drugs or to nothing. I stopped listening to English music, except for John Martyn who would bring out a good album every year in that period." - Tony Wilson on the years before punk, quoted in John Robb's Punk Rock: An Oral History.

Bernie Lugg (Ward Fowler), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 08:02 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I'd add Grace and Danger to Stevolende's list. Sweet Little Mysteries: The Island Anthology is a good primer.

heaven parker (anagram), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 08:13 (eleven months ago) Permalink

the tune "give us a ring" is my favorite john & bev track. the rest are kind of dull imo! i love that song though.

Written by Paul Wheeler for Nick Drake, iirc. It would fit quite well into Bryter Layter.

Can I just put in a word here for Oscar Jerome, who has a SE London John Martyn vibe going:

mahb, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 08:55 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Bless the Weather and Solid Air are probably the best intros but One World is his masterpiece

Number None, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 09:26 (eleven months ago) Permalink

xp - huh! did not know that. might explain why i like that song better.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 14:19 (eleven months ago) Permalink

listened to One World this morning -- what a weird, brilliant record.

tylerw, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 14:33 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I swear by everything from London Conversation through One World.

Solid Air was my first record of his and I can't imagine a better introduction.

I've come to appreciate Live at Leeds (in both incarnations) and Inside Out the most out of all that stuff, but in that period I mentioned above, he put down one of the most consistent runs in recorded music, I'd reckon.

And he's clearly been hugely influential.

Austin, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 17:56 (eleven months ago) Permalink

...on John Bonnamossa

brimstead, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 18:20 (eleven months ago) Permalink

sorry... the acoustic portion of the JB show I encountered a few years back REALLY made me think of john martyn

brimstead, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 18:22 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Who's John Bonnamossa?

Austin, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 18:42 (eleven months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

My favorite Martyn performance bar none:


Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 10 July 2017 14:06 (ten months ago) Permalink

My favourite live performance ever I think

Number None, Monday, 10 July 2017 14:35 (ten months ago) Permalink

that guitar tone is extremely metal

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Monday, 10 July 2017 14:52 (ten months ago) Permalink

love it

down that brown path (Spottie), Monday, 10 July 2017 17:55 (ten months ago) Permalink

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