BACK in 1977, when everyone who had any musical nous was pledging their allegiance to punk and ska bands, I used to spend days on end staring at the smoke-stained walls of a shabby one-bedroom flat in Lyne Street, Edinburgh, with a few close friends. The soundtrack for those long sessions was invariably John Martyn's gentle, beguiling music. Young and naïve, we thought that any man who wrote classic dope-fuelled anthems like Solid Air, One World and Bless The Weather must be a "really, really nice guy".
John Martyn has cultivated a staunch following for his improvisational picking style and mellifluous voice that has produced a mesh of jazz, blues and folk. Since his much-lauded debut releases, Solid Air and Bless The Weather, Martyn's career has been dogged by alcoholic abuse. Then, in 2003, a serious infection led to a leg amputation.
De heruitgebrachte folk-albums van John Martyn
Elk label in de jaren zestig wilde zijn eigen Bob Dylan. Island Records koos voor John Martyn, de muzikant van wie geen enkele plaat op een vorige leek. Universal brengt nu tientallen oude Island-albums opnieuw uit, waaronder die van folklegende Sandy Denny en John Martyn.
Timeless is too big a word for anything, but it was just so far ahead of its time. It's a very beautiful album, with a pure, almost classical bearing to it, even down to the singing parts.
Dit voorjaar legde de BBC de laatste hand aan een documentaire over John Martyn. Hij wordt uitgezonden op BBC Four in een reeks gewijd aan de 'peetvaders van de moderne muziek'. Hoewel hij ruim 35 jaar in het vak zit geldt de Schot nog immer als een goed bewaard geheim. Een 'cult musician's cult musician'.
A DAY OF MAYHEM STARTS pleasantly with lunch at the Savoy with Billy Swan, who's had a hit recently with a great record called 'I Can Help'.
BY KERNAN ANDREWS
JOHN MARTYN is one of the great originals from the British folk-rock scene and now he's returning to the west to play Campbell's Tavern, Cloughanover, Headford, on Saturday 10, as well as the TF Royal, Castlebar, the day before.
[Announcement with colour pic on page 7, ...the week's best TV and radio]
John Martyn: Johnny Too Bad 11.35pm BBC2 The world stops when Martyn sings, says one contributor. In this affecting profile, you can hear why. Pure magic.
Section FOREWORD/ MUSIC
For the first time John Martyn "didn't do a runner from hospital". With good reason: he'd just had his leg amputated.
IN 1996, JOHN MARTYN'S PANCREAS exploded. The medical profession had warned him -and to be fair, he had adopted a more balanced diet; "a balance," he reflects, "of pickled eggs, whisky and beer"- but it was the point in the life of the now 55-year old songwriter when he had to concede that his grievances were self-inflicted and not merely an endless catalogue of catastrophic bad luck.
John Hillarby takes a quick look at John Martyn on One World Records
Few artists have influenced and inspired whole generations of new musicians, but with a career that has now entered its fifth decade, John Martyn is one such artist. Everything But The Girl, Morcheeba, Sade, The Verve and U2's The Edge have all cited John as an inspiration. Just when you feel that you've heard all he has to offer, when you've finally pinned down and categorized his music, he undergoes yet another metamorphosis. Folk? Blues? Jazz? Reggae? Rock? Trip Hop? Funk? John refuses to conform to any particular music genre whilst simultaneously embracing them all.