'Some people keep diaries – I make records," John Martyn once claimed, admitting that his 1980 album Grace & Danger was "probably the most specific piece of autobiography I've written".
During his November 2008 tour John was shortly interviewed in the Thistle City Barbican Hotel lobby near the London Barbican theatre. Host for BBC 6 music is Shaun Keaveny.
John Martyn, Grace and Danger Live: he's the guv'nor
Mark Skipworth reviews John Martyn, Grace and Danger Live at the Barbican in London
All the greats have got one: that painful, intense, atmospheric studio album that was so emotionally demanding to make that it could rarely, if ever, be recreated in live performance.
Grace & Danger was the highly personal album that marked John Martyn's divorce and saw him leave Island Records in 1980. But its difficult conception hasn't stopped the 60-year-old singer-songwriter returning to it for his latest UK tour, following a successful trip around the country playing his classic Solid Air album last year.
During the Grace and Danger Tour, Gavin Allen had this telephone conversation with John. It is one of his last interviews and it lasts sixteen minutes.
Ain't No Saint
Compiled with due devotion, a 4-CD box set of faves, unearthed lives and outtakes.
A national treasure whose importance and influence has never been reflected in sales, Martyn's exhaustive back catalogue is brimful of genuinely pioneering approaches to folk and jazz.
Prompted by the release of a career-retrospective boxed set, Johnny Black talks four decades' music making with John Martyn
Whatever there was in the water at Cousins -heart of 60s London's folk music happenings- it was potent stuff that helped spawn a scene.
"I was something of a hoodlum, yes," laughs a severely understated John Martyn when asked about his wild, infamously debauched past, which for decades encompassed chronic alcohol and drug addiction, endless womanising and a constant supply of headaches, heartache and, presumably, gargantuan hangovers, for everyone in his life.