Liverpool, Eric's, 25 Feb 1977

19 Mar 1977
Ralph Whaley

Folk's answer to Ted Nugent?
John Martyn: If he's too loud then you're too old!

FOR THOSE of you who do not know, let me merely say this: John Martyn is Britain's number one singer/ songwriter. His fine, unique vocals excellently complement his subtle blend of guitar pyrotechnics. You heard correctly – pyrotechnics! (And if any of you Ted Nugent/1 Buck Dharma/2 Ace Frehley3 fans wanna argue, come right up!).

After a plea for 'a bit more juice in the monitors' (which is only significant in the fact that it commenced a running verbal battle which the guy at the mixing desk which lasted for all of Martyn's one-and-a-half hour long set) and a final drink out of his ubiquitous bottle of beer, Martyn went straight into an incredible version of One Day Without You. Just check out those vocals. Perfection. Next came the highlight (for me, anyway) of Martyn's set, Outside In. During this, he brought to the fore his whole battalion of effects – wah-wahs, boosters, fuzztones, copycat, in fact, you name it, and Martyn's got his foot on it. The way this song progresses is just amazing. It seems to possess a magical inherent non-verbal imagery, providing excellent fodder for all us would be amateur escapists.

After this song, Martyn went about developing his rapport with the highly appreciative Eric's audience before treating us to an 'acoustic guitar solo',4 and following that with a Rock 'n' Roll Suicide Ballad (Traditional).5 How can I, a mere mortal, ever hope to convey the many facets of loveliness songs like Over The Hill or Make No Mistake or for that matter Bless The Weather possess?

If your answer to the question, 'Have you heard John Martyn?' is in the negative, God help your souls. But it's not too late. Quick! There's still time if you hurry.

Ralph Whaley

1 American heavy metal guitarist and singer.
2 Stage name for Donald Brian Roeser, member of Blue Öyster Cult.
3 Paul Daniel Frehley, founding member of Kiss.
4 Probably Seven Black Roses.
5 Possibly Solid Air.
The issue of Sounds originally cost 15p and had the Sex Pistols on the cover. The God Save The Queen single was just about to be released.