JOHN MARTYN'S One World (Island L36457) adds another to his tally of impressive albums. Here Martyn charts familiar areas with intense love songs like Couldn't Love You More (including Steve Winwood on xylophone-sounding Yamaha organ) and Danny Thompson on bowed bass.
He flirts with 'do-wop'1 style on the delightful Dancing, allowing his echoplex guitar phrases to merge with Harry Robinson's strings.2 Then, immediately following Dancing -one of his most commercial tracks yet- he steers straight into the heady, esoteric Small Hours.
His pre-occupation with West Indian rhythms, gives us Dealer, Smiling Stranger and Big Muff, all utilising percussive echoplex effects, (the latter including Morris Pert's authentic sounds).
The title track (Martyn said recently that it represented his philosophy of "no passports, no discrimination") allows his unique, slurred vocals to express tenderness within a rhythmic framework.
As Martyn's Australian audience widens, more of his earlier albums are being released locally. The latest to come my way is Bless The Weather (Island SIL 934440).
1 Not a trace of doo-wop to be heard on that track.
2 As far as I know Harry Robinson contributed violins to Smiling Stranger.
This Australian review was published in Melbourne based The Age, Thursday 12 January 1978.