Well Kept Secret - Duke 90021-1

21 Apr 1983
Boston Globe
Joan Orr


Is John Martyn referring to himself with his latest album title? The once-greatly-respected guitarist has been drifting further into obscurity lately. Perhaps it is because the magic is missing from his music. Even if he always had a marble-mouthed approach to lyrics, Martyn's guitar style was always innovative and often beautiful. But not lately. Well Kept Secret heads ironically into mainstream pop/rock with repetitive tunes like Changes Her Mind and Hung Up. For pop-oriented rockers, they aren't that bad. But for Martyn, they are throwaways. His guitar playing isn't even exciting. Never Let Me Go is better, a jazzy song with sultry vocals. Interesting rhythmic patterns punctuate Livin' Alone and are reminiscent of Martyn's greatest work. But mostly, his new writing and arranging results in alike-sounding pop rock. Tiny glimpses of Martyn's musical potential are offered like teases throughout. This isn't John Martyn at his best or his worst, it is Martyn at a most frustrating average. — Joan Orr

This review was published in the Boston Globe of Thursday, 21 April 1983.

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