Sunday's Child - Island SMAS 9296

22 Dec 1974
Detroit Free Press
Fred Girard
promo portrait

Underwater Electronics

SUNDAY'S CHILD: John Martyn; Island — Martyn may be the first truly total-electronic musician. Not only his synthesizer and clavinet -both of which he plays expertly- are weirdly amplified, but his voice as well.

It's an eerie, underwater effect Martyn captured in the record he produced himself, and it very, effectively disguises his very mediocre voice.

That leaves the listener free to pay attention to Martyn's imagination, which is intelligent and varied, if a little spacey. He sings an ode to his child (My Baby Girl), a bit of gentle pornography (Root Love) and even a 16th-Century minstrel's ballad (Spencer The Rover).1

It isn't good music, but it is an experience. Works of impressionistic artists always turn out that way.


It doesn't happen often one encounters a review of which literally each sentence is false, incomprehensible, unjust or plain bollocks. This Christmas present was produced at safe distance in the Detroit Free Press, Sunday 22 December 1974.
1 Spencer The Rover is a traditional song, which can be traced in print as far back as 1840. The first recording was made in Brigg, Lincolnshire by Percy Grainger on 4th August 1906. John learned the song from Robin Dransfield in the mid-sixties.

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