Archived Guestbook 2001-2005

These are the entries made in the first five years of the Big Muff guestbook since it was activated April 2001.

The original guestbook was a dedicated Perl script but after twelve years I decided to incorporate it in the website for reasons of security and usability.
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May 5 2004 - Nottingham - THANK YOU - brilliant gig - well worth the wait - it was great to hear the new stuff - and lovely to hear the old favourites which brought back over thirty years of memories - go well John xx


Best performance

Saturday 1st May 2004 I had just sat through what I considered the best performance I had heard by John Martyn. The acoustics in the Colston Hall are by any standards one of the best in the country and the seating was as comfortable as I could have wished for. The audience was much bigger than I dared hope, fearing a small crowed might affect the performance but I guess they had come to see if the big man could still cut it? After all like myself they may have felt let down at previous shows where perhaps he was not at his best (for what ever reasons).

Well I need not have had any doubts for this was a show beyond all expectations, lyrically and in melody. John certainly has the skills to render even the most ferocious of beast to be calm and at peace with its self. The character and strength of the man shown by walking on to the set ably supported by the largest Shillelagh you are likely to see this side of the Irish Sea. Not to distract from the more than delightful support of his travelling collection of musicians I need not mention their names, as I am sure we all know who they are. The rhythm section has been well thought thru and Spencer is I am sure instrumental in extracting the very best out of John, he must know he needs to be at his very best to compliment such a fine musician.

As for the set, a wonderful mixture of both old and new, a great bit of acoustic guitar to prove that when on form he can hold his own with the best of them and I mean the best (didn’t God himself cover one of his songs?). There was for moments when the major notes filled the air with sustain and delay in what can only be described as an effortless display of music making I had seen, obviously at one with himself and a moment when my heart stopped with just a few bars of Small Hours but it was enough to evoke all my emotions at once. If only the maddening crowd outside take one small moment in their insignificant existence and listen to this literary genius (read Looking On anybody that doubts) I am sure their life’s would be more rewarding than the state of confusion most people appear to be in these days.

Johns ability to get so much out of his Gibson S.G with so few notes to play with (CFGD) is an example of how to obtain the most with so little. As other great guitarist such a B.B.King - Hendrix – Green – Clapton to name but a few, John demonstrates that you needn’t play many notes when one will do as long as you put your heart on it. On the short journey home we listened to On The Cobbles and a great way to end a great evening, After such a gushing tribute you may be forgiven for thinking that I am in love with the big man.

But there was a down side: for unlike when I made the pilgrimage to Connolly’s of Leap last November, this time I was accompanied by my lovely wife Rhian and my equally lovely 13 year old son Mark. When in Connolly’s last year I had the pleasure of sitting in on the Saturday afternoon sound check where John made me welcome and penned a nice message to both Mark and myself on a Big Muff Webb page that I had printed out with directions on how to get to Leap for there was no star to follow at that time of the year. What is this man’s point I hear you say? Well in these days of Grunge – Heavy Metal – Rap and so-on is it unusual for a Thirteen-year-old boy to be listening to One World? No I don’t think so but to be playing guitar in the CFCCGD tuning I think is. What is your point get on with it. Mark was hoping to meet the big man himself only to be asked by the polite security guard have you got a pass? A pass he may have been forgiven for thinking he was a security risk.

The second time he had been insulted this evening (excuse me miss this is the gents) one of the down sides to long hair I inform him. To be followed by the statement he has already left the building (was this Elvis he wanted to meet) supported by the less eloquent statement On My Grandchild’s Life, which I suppose is the opposite of what I have written about, an unfortunate choice of word’s if the statement was not true. So what I ask is don’t loose that human touch that you have, while I understand that it is difficult to meet individual requests for all sorts of reasons. As for Mark he was wrapped and blown away by the music told all his mates about John Martyn (who?) he has his work cut-out to educate those who do not believe. ALLLUCK ALLLOVE From Mark (13) + Peter (52) From Welsh Wales South!!

PS Van the man hurry up with the lyrics got bugs between my toes and cant wait to give a rendition of On The Cobbles...

Cwmbran, Wales
United Kingdom

Saw John last weekend in Bournemouth and was so pleased to find him in such great form. OK a bit rusty but that is to be expected. It was a fairly laid back set but really enjoyable nonetheless. I guess by the end of the tour he will be in top form. For those who like me live in The Netherlands and who want to watch the BBC documentary later this month about John, please note that it will be shown on the digital channel BBC4 and not the main BBC channels 1 and 2 which are broadcast widely throught Holland. To see it you need to know someone with Sky digital.

Den Haag

I was on Holiday in Ireland last week and could not believe my eyes: John Martyn was playing in Dublin 26 April 2004. I saw him last in Durham University in 1979 and I saw him again 24 years later. You could hear a pin drop when he played "May you never" always a fan, words fail me, thanks John.


Congratulations on reaching a milestone for the site.


Loved tou since I first discovered you at 14 yrs. 46 now. Got locked out of a Youth Hostel in Ambleside for staying too late at a pub gig. Spent the night in police cell 1974. Met you again at gig in Hull 1977. Came back to your hotel, Hull Moathouse, I think, had fun, but left before retiring to your room as invited. You were sweet though, what an honour to meet you after such a fantastic gig! You were, and still are, a genious. Still get the same thrill when I listen to your music. No-one has surpassed you since, even though it's a long time ago. So proud of you. Will carry my love for you and your music forever, and, passing it on to my children. They should Know. Best of luck John. Know that many love and appreciate you, even those, such as my daughter, who, at age 15, loves your music, 'whatever' as she would say. Much love to you, Anne XXXXXXXXXX

York, N.Yorks

Lived with your music since Stormbringer. Not able to listen to certain songs about waiting for "you just don't call". In saying that the best of the best.

Please, anyone out there who can share info on John's early work such as Jack the Lad? Tunings - shapes - styles would be very grateful, PETER

Brilliant site. Great information. Can't wait for May 8th. I met my fiance at a wedding in France 4 years ago. We couldn't understand each other too much but she loved Bless The Weather instantly which I'd listened too constantly on the journey over. I knew she was the one for me!


Big John, me and the girls

Started to know Johns music in 1973. First a friend of mine gave me as a present the album London Conversation. This was my Road To Ruin. Very quickly I bought The Tumbler, Stormbringer and the last one with Beverley Martyn, The Road to Ruin. Already at that time I was just jealous of his ability to play the guitar: I was playing guitar and this guy was so talented. He played what I wanted to play. JM was just the god, doing this kind of special rhytheming, hammering, something I never listened to before. Ok I said, whenever I can play something as JM does -at that time I had a kind of a school band-, it will work. I would be the one, so I did: I learned May You Never, Just Now, Head an Heart, Over The Hill and some other songs of Solid Air, including the one and only Solid Air.

It seemed to be impressive. I started to date a Dutch girl - I was at the time in the European School in Luxemburg, and she was just wild, interested in me maybe cause I played the Big ones songs. That was my first experience. During my studies I met some other ones. They loved me -you are so sensitive, you are doing the music I am feeling wow, Big John you did a very good job. Took them to your concerts, played for them your very touchy songs. It worked. After one separation I lived together with a lot of other girls. The anchor always was Big Johns Music. The best love I did to one of my cuties was Sweet Little Mystery.

I am married now for more than 18 years, and it always sounds.. the love for Big John. Today it's getting calmer now, it's my wife -who unfortunately doesn't understand your music- neither do I sometimes. Don't loose or abuse your talents! Your are just one of the musicians who will be present for decades; you are just the one who knows how to arche arrows in the heart of lovers by playing guitar. Playing still a lot of JM guitar songs, spending too much time on your web site, Can't buy more than you're selling. Bought everything.
Love and hate you, (to be honest, Couldn't Love You More) - damn right. You have been not only part of my live, you've had too much influence on me. Love whiskey and wine, whenever you want, give me a line.
Love Ulrich.


.....and I thought I was a John Martyn fan! This is one of the most comprehensive sites on any music artist I've seen - congratulations! I first saw John Martyn in Melbourne around 1977/78 and have been a huge fan ever since. Is it just me or are "Couldn't love you more" and "One day without you" two of the most beautiful songs ever written? I'm proud of the fact that I converted many people to John Martyn's music and when they become devotees, I'll refer them to this website!


G'day you old Fart. You Still alive after all this. You still need too pay for A Curry & 3 pints. Do want me to come collect? Regards John.


Went to see John play in Leap Co Cork last November. We knew before he had even made an apperance that he was going to be in a wheelchair because of the ramps which were positioned all over. I was at the Friday night gig which was excellent although Paddy the sound engineer told me later that Saturday was much better after they solved those teething problems from the Friday night. Paddy tells me he was in great form off stage cracking jokes to beat the band. Looking forward to the next time already.


Best wishes to John and all friends.


bet he could kick is self now,wish he'd get the echoplex back out before he lose's the other one.


Some more gigs for your listing... John played a solo gig at Nottingham University soon after I went there in Autumn 1979. Just John, the miked-up acoustic, his echoplex and PA, in a pretty small room. He came on with a 4-pack and cigarette, clearly already under the influence of something (maybe beer, maybe not ;) and plonked the lighter and pack on his amp ("Johnny's lighter is on Johnny's amplifier"). His playing was absolutely stunning... A Brighton Dome gig with good old Max Middleton - must have been another date on the "Glorious Fool" tour, sometime in 1981. He played "Hurt in your Heart" but used different (improvised?) lyrics - all I remember now are "Mother cried when I bought a gun/ never was one to turn and run". Wonderful show, well worth my 100-mile trip to see him...


When I first heard John's music in 1981, it changed my understanding of music. I would be very happy, if anyone could mention the exact date of broadcast of the film about John's life on BBC in the guestbook. Maybe there is a chance for me to see the film or to have someone record it for me in England. Besides, is John ever going to come to Germany again?


I'm searching for a live John Martyn album I used to have on a beaten up old tape. It had Angeline and Sweet little mystery on it. I think it's the one where he goes on about the bolero, and tells someone in the band to "grow about six inches and put that silly violin down". Anyone have any idea what it's called?


I first saw JM playing with Danny Thompson in the mid-70s in Leith. I was still a school-boy at the time, and recall seeing John and Danny in a pub over the road from the venue! Anyway, I was blown away and have seen John playing all over Scotland over the last 28 years. I think Scottish fans have been very spoiled, as John played many gigs locally; presumably because he lived in the Borders. I travelled over to Leap to see John playing in early November, this was an early Birthday present to myself. It was JMs first gig since his operation and since 2001(?). While it was sad to see him being pushed onto the stage it was very sweet when Theresa (partner) gave him a good luck kiss before he played. He seemed a bit nervous and obviously peeved at the sound problems and audience talking, but played really well, using acoustic guitar more than I can remember in recent times; even playing May You Never "somebody asked me to play this one". During this song both John Giblin and Spencer Cozens more or less stopped playing to stand back and enjoy! Hopefully there will be more gigs next year - rumour has it there will be gigs in London in February - personally I can't wait!


Long may John play. I will always listen.


Hey Guys, Am I dreaming or do i hear sounds of possible UK gigs next year?? Has London or Manchester been mentioned for example? Any news??? Thanks, Keith

I am jealous of anyone who saw "the man" last weekend! He is far too underrated - a complete one-off in my book...

Ride in Heaven

Well folks this time last week I was waiting with great anticipation for the legend known as John Martyn to come breezing in and take me away for a ride in heaven and I was not disappointed! Some people talked about the noise; well we were in Ireland 1) and when do the lovely people of Ireland ever keep quiet? The lovely Irene never stopped sing behind the bar and her beauty was only equalled by her sweet voice.

John on the other hand took no prisoners and was quick to tell those that showed little respect what he thought with a great deal of humour. The tracks were played how they should be. Johns style seems to have changed a bit over the years and I shall tell you more about that in a mo. The backing was great with Spencer and John [Giblin], worthy musicians to the great man. The venue was intimate and on the Saturday performance I was up at the bar talking to one of the local boys a young red headed fiery young Celt who asked me why I had flown over from Wales to see this aged man who has obviously suffered from his wild ways. I pointed out to him the young woman behind the bar that was gently swaying to Man In The Station and said: listen to the music, not look at the person. Study the words, don't judge the history. On the anniversary of the death of Dylan Thomas I was listening to a modern poet if that makes sense to you all?

Anyway on Saturday at 6.00 pm I had the pleasure of sitting in with John and rest while sound checks were being made. John played his whole set on a Gibson SG and what appeared to be a Martin D12 and another small type bodied acoustic. He said he played the whole set in DGCCFC tuning though I suspect he altered this from time to time. I must thank him and all those that made my first trip to Ireland one I shall treasure for the rest of my life. His kind words on the piece of paper I thrust under his nose is framed and on my wall. "All luck All love John Martyn"
Love forever to you, John and to the sweet Irene. Peter.

1) sitenote: Peter is referring to the comeback gig at Connolly's of Leap, November 7th.

Cwmbran, Wales
United Kingdom

C'mon folks, anyone, please tell us how it went. Would have loved to be there but alas...


Hi, Anyone got any news with regards the gigs in Ireland? Love to find out how it went.


I am just so pissed off that I can't get over to Ireland to see John hop onto a stage for the first time (as opposed to walk on in as he previously had). Still at least the BBC are going to be there and will show in on their documentary on the artist formerly known as Iain (what the hell was wrong with that name!) the amazing reception he will get.


The gigs in Ireland will be cool, John and Spencer but John Giblin will be playing bass.

Birkenhead, Liverpool

I've been a JM fan ever since I saw him in 8/75 at the 1st Festival d'Orange. By the way your gig list erroneously mentions festival d'Avignon. The town of Orange is not far from Avignon but it's rock festival was short lived. Also your gig list for 76 doesn't mention the Fête Rouge in Paris in the fall where John opened this all-night festival. Both shows were quite succesful with the audience. After showing up in Scotland last year and of course JM was in the hospital, I can't wait to see him this Friday in Leap.


Was so overjoyed to hear that John is now well and making music and that he is appearing live again. My daughter Emma and I can't wait to see him. We know it will be a night to remember. His music is with me every day, in my "head and heart".

Newport, Isle of Wight

Glad to hear that you are on the mend. You may remember ding dong or you may not, but your influence remains. Nick

Penzance, Cornwall
United Kingdom

John, would love to make it to your gigs in Cork but unfortunately I have another John (my brother) visiting that weekend. Still hope to see you in Dublin soon or perhaps in my hometown of Kilkenny. Thought your video message was fun and I'm glad to see your feeling better. I'm almost 30 now and have been a fan since I was... er... 26 (better late than never).


Difficult to know where to begin. Mate at college a big fan. Solid Air time. And then another mate later on led me astray with One World. Hooked ever since. Saw JM in Manchester many times and also in the North East. Good luck and hope to see you soon. Cheers.

Glad to hear that you are getting better and back into the music. Have seen you many times with my husband John, who introduced me to you. Looking forward to seeing and hearing you again. Most memorable moment for me was at Southsea when I spotted you walking amongst the crowd before performing. I had just bought your album (vinyl) "Live at Leeds" for my husband and you were good enough to sign it with "and kickin" plus signature. It is a treasured possession and now hangs framed on our wall.

Fareham, Hants

John is in the studio with me at the moment... Looks good N cool and the new songs last night blew me away... And I mean blewww.... Gigs in Ireland will be smokeing... John sends love to all........ Peace and love........ Gaz


Hi All from The Emerald Isle.... I'm a musician.... My home is a well known and respected music venue.... Tell THE WORLD..... He is playing here twice.... Himself and Spencer Cozens..... info...... dates etc.. on our website.... Please have a look around.... PS.... He's looking good..... Told me he'd taken the guitars out of the mothballs...!!!!!.... PPS....... It's the 7th and 8th NOV.

Leap, Co. Cork

Come on Big John... No Muffs too Tuff!! Stoke on Trent awaits your inevitable re-appearance!! Don't you go my Son!!!

United Kingdom

Great site - Great Man - Great Music. The wife thinks I am obsessed well she's right. My heart and thoughts are with John and can't wait to see him live again. If any body has any correct tabs or can recommend any books or like please drop me a line? Any way John Bless the weather that brought you to me, Curse the storm that takes you away. Markyh.

Cwmbran, Wales

John used to hold two records in my concert-going career: he was the artists I saw appearing live most often (in the meantime overtaken by Richard T.), and he still holds the record of not showing up. But I'm not writing to grumble. I am enjoying John's music for more than 25 years now. Just today I was mad enough to buy a 180g double-vinyl version of "Live at Leeds". All the best to you, Big John. Michael E.


I'd like to wish John all the best and hope he makes a good and speedy recovery. I miss his gigs and hope he will soon be able to continue his career as it's not the same without him on the scene. I've been following his music since I saw 'A little night music' on the BBC in 1981 and never tire of his songs. The last time I saw him in 2000, I took 2 right hooks from John, trying to stop his manager from being beaten up, but John thought I was the one beating up his manager. But we left on good terms and although my ear throbbed for days, the entire episode was so bizarre I was fun relating the tale to my friends. All the best John.

Newcastle upon Tyne

Haven't received the tape yet... but don't worry. When I do, I'll be happy to share the experience. For your information, I have been in touch with John Hillarby. I assured him that I will not exploit the tape in any way.


Wishing you the best of speedy recoveries and hope you get this message from your good friends paul and liz last seen in perth, western australia. Many years ago lost in the antipodes for decades, we still love your music. Yes, "the sun is always brighter on the other side."


Visited 'hanging lantern' folk club in the 60's. Found this very pretty boy playing accoustic and singing, our own j.m. was there the night he introduced his 'wah wah'- loved it and him for all these years, John, just couldn't love you more man, and after all these years, am dusty, through and through xxxxx.


All the best for you John. I love your music since London Conversation. Don´t stop the music. Glasgow Walker was brilliant.


Gig list addition: John Martyn - NIJMEGEN NETHERLANDS 6 feb 1985; audience recording exists..... cheers Paul.

There seems to be a gig missing from the giglist: Mansfield Leisure Centre, somewhen in 1983 or 1984 (it's close to Nottingham). It was a superb evening, the audience were in high spirits ;-) Andy.


Thanks for 30 years of immense pleasure, and get well soon. Hope to see you at the Wedgewood rooms again and show my 13 year old son a master at work.


Love and respect for giving us years of delight. MAY YOU NEVER.

Droitwich, Worcestershire
United Kingdom

Love and respect to you John. Really saddened by the news but sure that a man of such spirit and passion as you will get through this and we'll see you performing again in no time. All the best.


Get well soon John. I've been listening to you and seeing you live for 20 odd years. As far as I am concerned you made the three best albums of all time. Thoughts are with you mate. See you back on the road soon I hope!

United Kingdom

Hope you get better soon John and can play live again. I know my daughter Emma would really love to see you live. She is nineteen and loves your music, she says you are her favourite artist. My son Thom, who loves Hip Hop,says "Ways to Cry" is a rad song! As for me I have always loved your music and it is traditional for us now to spend wonderful evenings at home listening to your music. Take Care of yourself John. Lots of love from Liz, Emma and Thom Smith xxx

Newport, Isle of Wight
United Kingdom