Any appreciation for John Martyn?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by blackdograilroad, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. blackdograilroad

    blackdograilroad Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Devon, UK
    .......my single favourite artist.................a unique blend of folk, blues, rock, pop, jazz. Eastern influences..........unclassifiable, it's John Martyn music...............a butter-smothered hash-browned vocal technique swooping from the gentlest of whispers to the roar of a lion...........a dextrous acoustic guitarist, he began experimenting early on, pushing the envelope first with a tremolo-wah-wah combination and then an immersion in repeat echo on a low-tuned acoustic that produced his trademark Bo-Diddley-on-Red-Leb rhythmic pattern, although he could play fine electric lead........

    ...........and some of the finest songwriting, often meditations on love..............

    ......recording career started with London Conversation (1967) but best known for Solid Air (1973) although there is a consistently excellent run of albums from Bless The Weather (1971) to Grace And Danger (1980). It's probably true to say that his post-1980 releases are less consistent although there's much fine music there and those who dismiss his later output miss out.

    My desert island JM album is Inside Out (1973), the follow-up to Solid Air, less accessible than its predecessor but a deeper and richer experience.........

    Decades of self-abuse and self-neglect caught up with him in 2009 at the age of 60 but he lives on in the wonderful body of work he left us.................

    .........if you've never heard him cop this...............


     
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  2. David Ellis

    David Ellis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cheshire, UK
    :)
    Yes, I absolutely love(d) him. I have all his albums and IMO there isn't a bad one among them. I loved his live shows, except when he and Thommo had had too many to even stand up. I even think he got better live as he got older. I like that he always played relatively small venues. IMO he was so underrated as a guitarist and vocally. I wouldn't like to even try and pick my favourite album. I saw him in November 2008 and he died in Jan 2009. My wife said she thought it would be the last time I'd see him and she was right. Sorry blackdog but you're leaning on an open door her:)
     
  3. Alan2

    Alan2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Caught him on his last tour too - as fine as ever. Can't believe it's 5 years since his passing.

    I loved Inside Out, along with Live @ Leeds, and played them to death. So much so I rarely if ever listen to them now. Still love the 2 albums with Beverley, The Tumbler, and some of the later stuff.
     
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  4. Nick Dunning

    Nick Dunning Forum Resident

    John's run of consistent classic albums was longer than almost anyone's - everything he did from 1969 ('Stormbringer') to 1979 ('Grace & Danger') is superb - with things starting to really fly from the magical 'Bless The Weather' (1971) onwards.

    Funnily enough that trajectory of classics also works for Neil Young ('EKTIN' to (at a stretch) 'Hawks & Doves')

    Both mercurial talents then started to suffer nosedives of quality. John's bought on by serious domestic and substance problems, Neil's by distraction to do with his kids.
     
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  5. Almost Simon

    Almost Simon Forum Resident

    Yep, lots of love here. I started with Solid Air then progressed slowly from there. Now have the wonderful Island Years box.
     
  6. David Ellis

    David Ellis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cheshire, UK
    I note we are all from the UK................
     
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  7. bleachershane

    bleachershane Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Will eternally regret passing up on the chance to get tickets for him at his last Glasgow show. I'll just discovered him through "Solid Air" in the months preceding and was unsure I'd enjoy the show as I wasn't overly familiar with his back catalogue.

    It wasn't long after that he passed away and by then I had become a fan of his guitar wizardry, his sultry voice, the guitar effect experiments. In an instant I knew I had made a huge mistake not getting tickets for that show.
     
  8. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Little Britain
    Love John Martyn and "Inside Out" is also my personnal favourite.
     
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  9. hazard

    hazard Forum Resident

    But Neil recovered a lot of ground in the late '80 s and still puts out excellent work. I've got a lot of JM's LPs from the '70s and love them all but I do t think he got his mojo back the same way that Neil did.
     
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  10. hazard

    hazard Forum Resident

    Nuh. Not from the UK. My wife is but she doesn't even know who JM is. She's from the Duran Duran era.
     
  11. blackdograilroad

    blackdograilroad Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Devon, UK
    .........I got to see him in Kendal in July '08 [very good gig] but missed the autumn tour, thinking there'd be other times..................
     
  12. crozcat

    crozcat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    John Martyn?! :edthumbs:

    Absolutely love his run of albums 1971-1980.
    Of the later albums I really like The Church With One Bell (1998) and On The Cobbles (2004) - check them out!

    I was lucky to see him in concert in Edinburgh in the mid-80´s - a great experience,
    and live the sound was much better than on the sterile 80´s studio productions.
     
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  13. bleachershane

    bleachershane Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I said to myself "Better wait and get a little more into his back catalogue, I'll just catch him next time he plays." Big mistake! :cry:
     
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  14. blackdograilroad

    blackdograilroad Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Devon, UK
    .......I think his vocal on The Sky Is Crying on that album is utterly magnificent- absolute master craftsman reading- anyone who feels he 'went off' after 1980, check this out.........

     
  15. goombay

    goombay Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    i dont like his acoustic stuff but do like grace and danger
     
  16. Nick Dunning

    Nick Dunning Forum Resident

    You have a point there. Neil's mojo did return circa 1988 ('Freedom', 'Ragged Glory') I'm not convinced he's done anything of value in a long time now though ('Silver & Gold' being his last decent album IMHO).

    'On The Cobbles' is my favourite post 1980 JM album, some lovely stuff on there.

    I sadly never saw him live as I didn't want to be disappointed. Not a good policy.
     
  17. onlyconnect

    onlyconnect Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    Total appreciation here. I think my favourite is Sunday's Child.

    Tim
     
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  18. Tristero

    Tristero Forum Resident

    Location:
    MI
    Count this Yank as another fan, particularly of his 70's output. All of those albums are highly creative and unique, though One World stands out as a particular favorite. I just love the organic ambiance they achieved there, a great late night chill out album.
     
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  19. Harvest Your Thoughts

    Harvest Your Thoughts Forum Resident

    Location:
    On your screen
    I only have one of his albums (Stormbringer) but I'm always on the look out for more. Any key purchases (on vinyl) I should make?
     
  20. SteelyTom

    SteelyTom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, Mass.
    If you've begun with Bless the Weather (which I played for the first time a couple of days ago-- love that one), what's next?
     
  21. Tristero

    Tristero Forum Resident

    Location:
    MI
    Yeah, that's where he really started to hit his stride. Solid Air is probably his most widely celebrated masterpiece, highly recommended, but you can't go wrong with most of his 70's releases.
     
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  22. bleachershane

    bleachershane Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    You need "Solid Air", it's the album most should use to introduce themselves to the man. Work from there!
     
  23. Nick Dunning

    Nick Dunning Forum Resident

    'Solid Air' is the dark, insular, wintry and narcotic flipside of the earlier 'Bless The Weather's summer evening reverie.

    I bought 'Solid Air' blind as I liked the look of the cover about 30 years ago. Never looked back. If the title track doesn't get you at first hearing, you're in the wrong place.
     
  24. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC USA
    I've been a big fan since the 70's.
     
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  25. Roger Thornhill

    Roger Thornhill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ilford, Essex, UK
    Another fan here.

    My entry to him was through One World which I picked up the year after it came out and then went forward and back through his discography.

    Like others have said the key era was the 1970-1980 ending in Grace and Danger. I don't mind the 80s albums but think he lost something when he left Island and went to WEA.
     
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