On The Cobbles - Independiente ISOM 43CD

27 May 2004
Joe Breen

John Martyn
On The Cobbles/ Independiente
* * * *

Hang around long enough in this world and heroes have an awful habit of becoming zeroes. John Martyn has frustrated more fans than he has pleased in recent years as he seemed hell-bent on wasting his awesome talent. Last year, his life reached a nadir when his leg was amputated. But, as if to deliberately confound his critics, this is his most impressive album for an age. The voice is even more gruff, Glasgow by way of New Orleans, but he and his excellent musicians work their way into a groove that is part meaty, bluesy funk and part sensitive songwriter, with a stomping version of Frankie Miller's Baby Come Home. The album's other cover, a typically intense duet with Mavis Staples on Leadbelly's Goodnight Irene, closes the album, and between those two songs Martyn shows what a wonderfully individual and exhilarating talent he can be.

Joe Breen

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