SEAGULLS are soaring on the rising air currents from the sea. Sparrows and yellowhammers are chirruping in the undergrowth. The sun beats down. And John Martyn walks beside the sheer white cliffs at Hastings, where he lives.
Recording of the closing show at London's Rainbow theatre which sadly closed down in March last year after a short but distinctive history as a major rock venue.
THERE AREN'T many musicians who can carry off a set barely ninety minutes long, almost thirty of them between-numbers chat, without leaving an audience feeling short-changed. Martyn's Croydon concert did, and managed much more. It was one of the most completely satisfying gigs I've attended in a long time.
JOHN MARTYN is unlikely to ever sell out a concert at the Albert Hall at six quid a seat, and one couldn't really envisage him entertaining the daughter of an American President backstage after a gig at Madison Square Gardens.
John Martyn: imaginative electric guitar
John Martyn: Sunday's Child (Island)
The success of John Martyn's latest album and of his recent U.K. tour have been two of the most hopeful aspects of British rock in the first part of 1975. For years John had been an artist consigned to the obscurism of folk clubs and the modesty of second on the bill of a larger concert. But Martyn has stuck to his task, built a following through graft and a series of fine albums of which Sunday's Child is the latest and, in Britain, most successful.
Yes, that's right. 'Koss' turned up for the final couple of numbers. But there had been ten John Martyn song workouts prior to that, you know, with his voice tumbling along like some kind of crazed tumbleweed and harmonizing with Danny Thompson's rolling stand-up bass and his own staccato guitar patterns.
For me, the release of a new John Martyn album is always among the most noteworthy events of the year. The development of his music, its conception and execution, seems to be one of the most important and enjoyable trends in British music to emerge in the last five years, during which time he has eroded the somewhat superficial but steadfast barriers that divide folk and rock music, and produced records that have been brilliantly innovative and easily accessible.
A Refusal To Sell Out
Even though John Martyn has been around for some time now, there's still a boyishness in his laughter and a distinct lack of Rock-Star-Cool in his behaviour. His new album -his eighth- has an appropriate title, Sunday's Child.
The MM series in which musicians talk about the artists they love and why. This week: JOHN MARTYN
His newly released album Sunday's Child follows a familiar formula - it's an album of mood music that only comes to life after dark so that one immediately recalls his penchant for booking studio time at Island between the hours of midnight and dawn.