Thirty three years have elapsed since the Old Grey Whistle Test performance that conferred a measure of stardom on John Martyn.
There's mystery in the air as John Martyn revives a classic
Robert Sandall reviews John Martyn's new1 album
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Spellbinding no-frills solo set from 1975
36 minutes live in studio performance.
The program was recorded Tuesday 9 May at Livingston Studio, London.
A second broadcast took place 21 January 2007.
After John's passing, it was rebroadcast on 13 March 2009 on BBC Radio 3, as part of Mary Ann Kennedy's World On 3 program.
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In the 1970s, John Martyn was the master of the romantic sublime. Schooled in the 1960s folk boom, this Glaswegian went electric, made the Echoplex tape-delay device his own, and found his musical soulmate in fellow closet jazznik double-bassist Danny Thompson. Tender intimacy and booming spaciousness all of a piece, Martyn's classic albums Bless The Weather, Solid Air and One World conjured acoustic-electric moodscapes where your heart and time itself stood still.
Three live tracks in the studio with band, interlaced with interview fragments.
John Martyn has cultivated a staunch following for his improvisational picking style and mellifluous voice that has produced a mesh of jazz, blues and folk. Since his much-lauded debut releases, Solid Air and Bless The Weather, Martyn's career has been dogged by alcoholic abuse. Then, in 2003, a serious infection led to a leg amputation.
Exactly when it was that Martyn's vocal became a slurred growl with built-in elasticity is open to debate.
Island/Universal cat. no. tbc (42:07)
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Island/Universal cat. no. tbc (34:09)
Bless The Weather
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Island/Universal cat. no. tbc (75:21)
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Island/Universal cat. no. tbc (59:16)
The drinking, the drug taking, the divorces, the bankruptcy, the broken neck, the affairs and the loss of his leg. But John Martyn's lurid personal life is still leaving room for some sublime music...