Exactly when it was that Martyn's vocal became a slurred growl with built-in elasticity is open to debate. But what isn't in question is that, despite its incomprehensibility, it remains one of the most distinctive, characteristic sounds in rock. We were lucky to have Martyn fit enough to gig, after surgery robbed him of much of his mobility. As the curtain rose, seated and surrounded by a familiar band, he had a shaky start with Cooltide, and you could feel the audience shift in their seats as Martyn seemed ill at home. Thankfully, he hit his stride when tackling the old Utah Philips blues of Rock, Salt And Nails.
Henceforth at ease, he began to cherry-pick from his catalogue as far back as May You Never, transforming his acoustic zenith into an easy jazzy ramble. Big Muff was stately if not fiery enough, while Couldn't Love You More was woozily elegant. The closer, Never Let Me Go, left hardly a dry eye in the house and, before you knew it, two hours had flown by.
The exact publishing date of this Record Collector review remains unconfirmed.