John Martyn - 20 Years A Troubadour

David Belcher
Glasgow Herald

AT the other end of the telephone line things sound to be getting seriously out of hand. There's a choking wheeze, intermittent snorts and could that heavy thudding be a palm slapping a thigh? John Martyn is more than amused. John Martyn is delirious. John Martyn's laughter has reached such a clip that one begins to fear for his throat.

Piece by Piece [Promo boxed set]

Trevor Dann
Island JM 1-1, JM 1-2

TD: It's 1966. Harold Wilson is prime minister, Lyndon Johnson is president. It's the year of Carnaby Street and Vietnam. In music, Mersey beat and the Modern rockers are on the way out; acid rock and hippies are just around the corner. And in Glasgow, a 17-year old Scottish folksinger is about to make his first live appearance.
John Martyn, how much can you remember about those very early gigs.
JM: The very early ones... I remember the first time I ever played in public. That was in the local village hall, the Town Hall, partial as burro. That was because Josh McCrae got drunk in the pub and could not appear. So I was given the gig, because I was the only one in the audience who could play the guitar and sing. And about four months after that I played in a place called The Black Bull in Dollar which is outside Stirling. I got eleven quid for it, that was wonderful.

TD: How much do you think you have changed.

About Nick Drake

Richard Skinner
Saturday live, BBC

Richard Skinner: John Martyn, contemporary and fellow Island recording artist in those days, yes?
John Martyn: This is true, this is true.
RS: Did you know the man well?
JM: I did, yes. We lived very close to each other. He lived in one part of Hampstead, and I lived just up the road. Um, very quiet, very quiet lad. Extremely personable and charming, when necessary.

Digne Martyn

François Gorin
Rock & Folk #219

Vous a-t-on dit que le dernier (et quatorzième) album de John Martyn, «Sapphire», était une splendeur ? Oui, on vous l'a dit. Mais vous a-t-on dit que, de temps en temps, John Martyn sortait de sa campagne écossaise et de sa réserve pour parler à «R&F»? Voici donc.

R&F - Souvent quand on rencontre un artiste, il vous dit que son dernier disque est ce qu'il a fait de mieux. Dans votre cas, ce ne serait pas entièrement faux.

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Johnny & The Kid

Rogier van Bakel
Oor Vol 15 #8

De Schotse Furie debuteerde in 1968 paradoxaal met een kabbelende folkplaat. In de jaren zeventig werd hij heen en weer geslingerd tussen Oosterse muziek, jazz, reggae en rock hetgeen resulteerde in een reeks bijzondere elpees voor het Island-label. Zijn virtuoze gitaarwerk werd ook live gaandeweg elektrischer in een van one-man-band tot meermansgroep uitgedijde formule.

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Kontrastprogramm/ John Martyn

Kurt Koelsch
Fachblatt/ Musik Magazin #4

Er sieht aus wie Mr. Normal, singt wie ein alter Blues-Barde und ist einer der Song-Titanen der britischen Insel. John Martyn (37), in Glasgow geboren, aktiv seit 1968, 17 meisterliche Alben, 18 Jahre Erfahrung vor und hinter der Bühne, liebt Gegensätze. Seine ebenso exotischen wie feinfühligen Genre-Fusionen brachten Kritiker und Kollegen zum Schwelgen. Das Massenpublikum jedoch wollte die stilistische Weltreise zwischen Jazz, Folk, Blues, Rock und Reggae nicht mitmachen. Aber den temperamentvollen Schotten juckt das wenig. Solange er sein Bier bezahlen kann und die Clubs füllt, ist er zufrieden. Nur in einem Punkt entwickelt er Ehrgeiz: Musik!

John Martyn: Still His Own Man

Alan Kellogg
Edmonton Journal

It's pina colada time in Scotland at folksinger Hamish Imlach's house, and John Martyn (along with everyone else, by the sound of it) is feeling jolly. Why not? The 37-year-old singer-songwriter is currently riding a critical crest on the release of Sapphire, Martyn's 13th album - and clearly one of his best.

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