There are times on No Little Boy (Mesa 79057) when John Martyn gets the sort of jazzy groove going that would make Sade swoon, and times when his music has enough pop effervescence to make Sting seem stuffy. And when Martyn digs into a heartbreak ballad like I Don't Wanna Know, he touches on emotions so deep and resonant that it's easy to understand why Phil Collins so admires his work.
So why isn't this guy a big star? Beats me. Given the soulful strength of songs like Just Now -as good a song as anything Steve Winwood's written lately- or Sunday's Child, you'd think he'd have the adult contemporary market eating out of his hand. Until that happens, though, the pure pop appeal of Ways To Cry (one of several duets with Collins here) and the jazzy sophistication of Solid Air will likely remain private pleasures.
This review was published in The Baltimore Sun of Sunday 16 January 1994.
The same text ran in The Greenville News (South Carolina) of Saturday 29 January, under the title Musical Marvels Often Miss Charts.