Old Grey Whistle Test (1)

18 Jan 1972

This is an obscure performance and in fact probably the oldest TV recording made of John.
Artists listed are Bell & Arc, John Martyn.

Henry Pond reports: "I saw John on OGWT in a session which I think must have been earlier than the 13th March 73. He was playing solo, the tracks were Bless The Weather and (I'm guessing) Glistening Glyndebourne. I still have the (mono) cassette somewhere complete with background whistle where I recorded the program via microphone in front of the TV speaker."

The surviving cassette recording lasts 11 minutes 38 seconds. John is briefly introduced by Richard Williams (the presenter during the first season) and plays a quiet acoustic Bless The Weather, followed by an improvised echoplex version of Glistening Glyndebourne. John takes a long time between songs to retune the guitar and starts off with some Solid Air chords.

The Old Grey Whistle Test began transmission on BBC2 at 11:05pm on Tuesday, 21st September, 1971, fronted by the Melody Maker and Radio Times columnist and former Disco 2 presenter Richard Williams. He introduced live and pre-recorded studio performances (usually filmed earlier in the evening in Studio B at the TV Centre in Wood Lane, London) and an assortment of star interviews taped both in the studio and on locations. In the second season the program got its iconic host Bob Harris who was also a big John Martyn fan.

Richard Williams' introductory text:

Tonight's solo guest is John Martyn, singer, guitarist, composer and author of three solo albums. John's going to play two numbers for us tonight, one acoustic and one electric. First one is called Bless The Weather.

And he concludes: "Thank you John Martyn. And I hope you all really listened to what was going on there. Beautiful."

Track details
1 Introduction 0:11 By Richard Williams
2 Bless The Weather 4:43 Quiet acoustic version
3 Glistening Glyndebourne 5:58 Echoplex but also rather quiet.

Many thanks to Henry Pond for preserving and digging out this material.