ONE WORLD - John Martyn - Island ILPS 94922
Despite a prior track record of eight albums, English singer-songwriter John Martyn is an unfamiliar name to many. If this is ever going to change, One World could be the album to do it.
Martyn has recorded his most accessible album, but without sacrificing the distinctive charisma of his previous records. Most of side one is a continuation of the rustic ballads of his last few albums. On Small Hours and all of side two,1 however, Martyn's raspy vocals are fused with the musical support of Steve Winwood's synthesizer and keyboard.
Dealer is a possible candidate for a Traffic album, while the title song and Smiling Stranger possess that same jazzy, almost disco, undercoating that saturated Winwood's solo release last year. Big Muff is also a very successful departure from Martyn's usual boundaries with its ambitious reggae background carrying Martyn's effortless vocals so well. Martyn's One World, especially the second side, is one of the most refreshing and different brands of music I've heard this year.
1 Probably the reviewer listened to an early pressing with switched sides.
This American review was published in the Press and Sun-Bulletin of Wednesday 14 June 1978. The paper had its base in Binghamton, New York. Other albums reviewed in the same issue were Misfits by The Kinks, The Kick Inside by Kate Bush and It's A Heartache (Bonnie Tyler).