London, LSE, 9 Nov 1978

25 Nov 1978
Record Mirror
Susan Kluth
John Martyn
London LSE

NOTHING STUNNINGLY new from John Martyn t'other day; but then he's an artist whose folk-jazz-ballad-electronic fusions have run off the mainstream at a timeless tangent. Although a new album is projected for next spring, it was the year-old One World and a few of its predecessors that provided the basis for the gig for obviously hardcore fans. It would be nice (if impossible) commercially to see him packing the Rainbow, but a great deal better emotionally to find him packing the LSE Old Theatre.

John Martyn plays solo onstage, self and guitar surrounded by a barricade of knobs and pedals, heartbeat loops and echoplex spanning out many of his tidily mysterious songs, sung in daintily lugubrious fashion. He's also but natch a very good blueish acoustic guitarist - one of the few survivors of the Great British Blues tradition, would you but know it. Hence One World (that song) sliding with almost religious grace like a slowed down film of an international gymnast at work, and the most extrovert and funky 'Zertain Zurprise'.

Inevitably, with so much gadgetry around there has to be quite a bit of order and discipline in the set. But at the same time, John Martyn keeps it real. SUSAN KLUTH

This review was published in Record Mirror of 25 November 1978. Material provided by Rob Jarvis.