Ain't No Saint

7 Sep 2008
The Independent
Nick Coleman

Album: John Martyn, Ain't No Saint (Island)

Reviewed by Nick Coleman

Four discs, two live, two studio, the latter comprising 34 songs, a dozen of which are unreleased – a decent enough way to reflect on an extraordinary career on the eve of the artist's 60th birthday.

But it's the live stuff that thrills. It was in concert that Martyn took imaginative wing, lifting his structured song material into extemporary but exquisitely controlled flight. The majority of what's here is from the Seventies, the decade in which the guitarist did everything in his power to defy gravity. Just listen to Martyn and bassist Danny Thompson soar together. Genius at work.

Pick of the Album: 'One Day Without You' from 1977: 'Any chance of a spliff...?'

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