Let's get one thing straight - this man is a national treasure. For 30-odd years he has been making great albums, playing memorable gigs, pushing boundaries.
John Martyn picked up his guitar, played a solo that got everyone hooked and held them spellbound all night when he played the Roisin Dubh on Monday February 26.
The Brook's greatest strength is also its biggest weakness. Yes, it's incredibly intimate, and everyone is close enough to the stage to see the whites (or sometimes the reds) of the performers' eyes.
Jazz Cafe, London
Say what you like about John Martyn but there's no doubt that after 35 years in the business he's still taking risks. Tonight he's accompanied by a sax player 1 who offered his services after recording with Martyn in the studio the day before. No warm-up, nothing. And it sounds fantastic.
It's more than 30 years since lain McGeachy hit the road south from Glasgow to record his first album -the acoustic guitar-driven period piece London Conversation- changed his name to John Martyn, and began a career in music that, if it hasn't made him rich in worldly terms, has earned the wayward Scotsman critical acclaim and a world-wide following.
Phew, what a scorcher. Not the music. John Martyn doesn't scorch much, being more disposed towards light and mellow grooves -
Only here for the beard
Stomping about the stage of the Shepherd's Bush Empire, muttering incomprehensible asides to his band, John Martyn sometimes resembles an amiable nutter basking in the glow of a gallon of Guinness.
From the moment he slurred "Good evening, Shepherd's Bush" it seemed likely John Martyn was half-cut. His crapulence has always been part of the deal, and it seems to lubricate his genius. And he's an affable drunk; a big-hearted bear of a man who never seems to get a sore head. You can't help but like him.
The Garage, Glasgow
What a long strange voyage these past 30 years have been for John Martyn-watchers. From boss acoustic fingerpicking through free- wheeling jazz, reggae and hip-hop experiments, the good ship McGeachie (his real name) has sailed, with occasional becalmed moments but with the interest always sustained by the mystery of where journey's end might be.
On a warm spring night in Dublin, a man is walking with concentration, but without purpose, the hood of his odd, patchwork jacket pulled up, a hint of belligerence in his gait.