Foundations - Island 90853

18 Mar 1988
New York Times
Stephen Holden

Sounds around town
Pop Album of the Week: John Martyn: Foundations (Island).
In 20 years, the Scottish singer, composer and guitarist John Martyn has transformed himself from folk artist embroidering his own dark fables with flashy guitar breaks into a pop-jazz singer who suggests a cross between Tom Waits and Michael McDonald. Mr. Martyn's essential vocal quality is an air of almost primal desperation. His slurred delivery -at once doleful and aggressive- is bolstered on this live album by a wailing pop-jazz sextet. The material ranges from a jazzy version of his signature song, May You Never, to more recent material like the howling ballad Mad Dog Days to a version of Over the Rainbow that makes you think of someone gazing drunkenly from the gutter up at the stars.

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