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.
UNCUT: What do you think of the anthology?
JOHN MARTYN: I haven't heard it... I keep as far away from all that stuff, man. As soon as I've finished it, it's gone. I love playing live, you know? It's actually a stricter discipline than being in the studio, because you only get one shot at the gig, whereas in the studio you get loads of shots.
Album: John Martyn, Ain't No Saint (Island)
Reviewed by Nick Coleman
Four discs, two live, two studio, the latter comprising 34 songs, a dozen of which are unreleased – a decent enough way to reflect on an extraordinary career on the eve of the artist's 60th birthday.
Next Thursday, John Martyn – the legendary singer-songwriter and guitarist – turns 60. It is a landmark many thought he’d never reach.
Forty years of living life to its fullest has supplied John Martyn his fair share of both high and low points - the past 12 months alone have seen the singer/songwriter recieve a wealth of awards and also contract pneumonia. But with an array of remasters and a new studio album in the pipeline, the future looks positively rosy for the evergreen star.
MUSIC REVIEW: Bill Wyman and his Rhythm Kings, Summer Pops, Liverpool
DR HOOK frontman Dennis Locorriere was a surprise addition to former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings gig at the Arena last night. He joined legendary guitarist Albert Lee and the taciturn bassist on stage as part of the nine-piece outfit that ripped through 20 songs.
Pro: One of the most influential and innovative folk musicians of the 1970s, Martyn introduced elements of jazz and blues into his sound: without his classic albums Bless The Weather and Solid Air, it's arguable that there'd be no Tunng, Four Tet or even Portishead.
Con: He's also responsible for the plague of guitar-tapping, loop-pedal-wielding idiots who batter our ears in the name of folk. Thanks, Mr Martyn, for Newton Faulkner.
John Martyn - The Man Upstairs: In Concert Live In Germany 1978
Stunning live performance finally makes it to DVD
Almost 30 years to the day after it was filmed at Hamburg’s Audimax auditorium for the German TV show Rockpalast, this classic performance is only now available on DVD for the first time. The Man Upstairs captures the power of John Martyn’s live show, with Martyn at the height of his powers following the release of his then-current studio album One World.