Lots of your mellower folkies from the '60s have lately evolved into a cool jazz style; the mixed bag Richie Havens used to grab all for himself. To make the hip transition, all you gotta do is learn a few wide open acoustic guitar chords and a little bit of scat vocalise, and lay back so far you're practically not there at all. Perhaps the prime exponent of the genre is John Martyn, a British artist I've admired greatly in the past, but here sounding almost like a parody of himself. Despite fine keyboard fills by Stevie Winwood, the melodies are paper thin, while Martyn's vocal 'gymnastics' verge on gargling. (C plus) Michael Franks offers a Los Angeles variation on the theme, as musically pasturized as a California Smoothy in Tommy LiPuma's production. [...]
This atypical review was published in the Philadelphia Daily News of Wednesday, 5 April 1978 on page 27.