John Martyn's discography needs a lot of explaining these days - barely a month goes by without the appearance of some old tape tarted up as a live album, seemingly pushed out by Martyn himself.1 This release is a half live/ half studio compilation assembled from albums owned by Sanctuary/ Castle and dating essentially from the early 90s - the studio material sourced from The Apprentice, Cooltide, Soon2 and Another World, and the live tracks mostly from Live (1990), with a handful from Live At Bristol (1991),3 Philentropy (1982) [sic] and Live At Leeds (1975).
A singular folk-rocker in the 70s, Martyn has doggedly pursued a kind of synthetic, keyboards-heavy funk/ soul since the early 80s, recording with the likes of Phil Collins and Dave Gilmour (featured here) without approaching their level of success. There's nothing exclusive, but it's a canny selection of familiar tracks (live reworkings of 70s and 80s classics like Solid Air, May You Never and the barnstorming John Wayne) with the best of what some may feel to be the generally arid territory of his 90s albums - songs like Jack The Lad prove he hadn't completely lost his touch.
1 This is bullshit.
2 Meant is Snooo from 1995, or more probably Philentropy/ Snoo.
3 That's the title, the release was 1998.
The catalogue number is as yet unknown. Possibly referring to a US release.
This review was published in Record Collector, probably the April edition of 2001, on page 93.