JOHN MARTYN: SUNDAY'S CHILD (ISLAND)
AFTER A disappointing and disheartening start, 1975 has suddenly brought forth a number of very good albums - one being, perhaps inevitably, John Martyn's Sunday's Child. I've been following Martyn's career with great interest since the superb Bless The Weather and, although I somehow missed out on Inside Out, it's quite obvious that the man has matured very much since then. The characteristic slurred vocals have improved and are now quickly accepted - any irritating quality has disappeared: his innovative guitar technique is now less of a novelty and more of a part of the overall sound.
One Day Without You says it all -here the aforementioned vocal slurs are more pronounced- but even so the lyrics somehow appear less indistinct; the music rambles freely, complementing the voice perfectly. Martyn's rapport with double bass has never been better; his songs have seldom before had the same consistent excellence - and overall, the album is a very mellow one indeed.
And just as Bless The Weather had its Glistening Glyndebourne and Solid Air had I'd Rather Be The Devil, well, this one has two outstanding tracks.1 Call Me Crazy, which at first flows along very gently as Martyn moans in strangely empassioned monotone. Then purely essential backing gathers momentum, and suddenly fades into a quiet, echoey ending - superbly textured with every plucked note slowly reverberating.
The second, Root Love, is one of Martyn's most tasteful compositions. It's almost an attempt at heavy rock - there's an insistent, bleeping background throughout, and Martyn sings rather higher than usual over distant, bassy guitar - a la Glitter Band, somewhat. Manic drums thud periodically and the appropriate guitar break gets positively wild. Marvellous. – Geoff Barton.
1 Strangely enough Sunday's Child is being missed. And Spencer The Rover. And Satisfied Mind.
This review was published in Sounds of 1st February 1975. The same issue ran an article on John called Life After Dark.
Material kindly provided by John Neil Munro.