Stormbringer, The Road To Ruin (remastered & expanded)

1 Nov 2005
The Word #33
Simon Waldman

Road To Ruin and
Stormbringer: turning points
in John Martyn's career

By Simon Waldman

Behind him were a couple of charming acoustic albums in London Conversation and The Tumbler; ahead of him was his '70s purple patch of Bless The Weather, Solid Air, Sunday's Child and One World. These find him in transitional mode, working with his new wife, the folk singer Beverley Kutner (the Posh and Becks of the late'6os jazz/folk scene). The results are lovely enough cocktails of gentle hippydom that will have you reaching for your kaftan and joss-sticks, but neither rank among his greatest works.

That said, there are three good reasons why you should buy them in their new format. First you have to buy Road to Ruin because, two tracks, Parcels and Tree Green, hint at the greatness to come and they just sound better all cleaned up. Second because Stormbringer, marginally the weaker of the two albums, now has Mr and Mrs Martyn's original demo added to it. This contains a previously unreleased track: One Of Those Days, which is just Beverley singing over John's guitar, completely pared down, completely gorgeous. Well worth the price of admission alone.

Third -and perhaps this is the most important of all- because John Martyn is nothing short of a national treasure, who is finally getting the sort of recognition he deserves. Buying a copy is a worthwhile contribution to the John Martyn benevolent fund. Give generously.

Road To Ruin and Stormbringer are on Island