So Far So Good - Festival L36195

12 Aug 1977
Canberra Times
Luis Feliu

SO FAR SO GOOD, John Martyn, Island Records, distributed by Festival.
A RARE CONUNDRUM, Bert Jansch, Interfusion Records, distributed by Festival.

THESE two hardened folkies, if you haven't realised, will be performing at the Canberra Theatre on Monday night and if you appreciate the best folk music or any high-class performance then I suggest you go along.

Bert Jansch, with John Renbourn, formed the first successfully amplified folk group, Pentangle, in Britain in 1965. Pentangle drew large audiences at their performances at Carnegie Hall and The Albert Hall various times and recorded a number of albums. The band 'died' after the famous Isle of Wight Festival with Bob Dylan, out of 'boredom', according to Jansch. He then spent many years in self-imposed obscurity and recorded three albums, including this one, and decided to go on the road again. The album is thoroughly pleasing; a back-to-the-roots collection of pure-folk, American and Irish folksongs, love songs, instrumentals, a guitar duet, and a blues number.

John Martyn seems to be the more progressive of the two, only in his dressing of songs, though. Martyn's music began in the roots of the mid-60s folk music - simple vocal deliveries over a uniform, raw melody line from his acoustic guitar and more recently embellished with harmonic density, electrical and pedal effects and improvisation.

Martyn seems to have quite a musical character and, with his music, is described on the inside cover of this album. Martyn signed for the three-year-old Island record company in 1965 when it was recording the black music of the Jamaican or 'bluebeat' era.

Apart from a number of faceless albums of rugby songs, Martyn was the first white artist to sign to a label. It was not long after that Island signed such progressive rock bands of the time as the Spencer Davis Group, Jethro Tull and Free, so Martyn was in good company.

This was highly efficient: a combined review combined with an announcement of the Canberra Theatre show. It was published in the Friday edition.

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