Archived Guestbook 2006-2010

These are the entries made in the Big Muff guestbook between 2006 and 2010.

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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Would love to know when 'Willing to Work' is due for release; also would like to know what's happening with the tribute album. HELP please!!!!

Webmaster: As I understand the new album 'Heaven and Earth' will be released in the spring of 2011. John Hillarby has published a tracklisting.

Caerphilly, Cymru... Wales

My wife is convinced that one of John's songs found its way into an episode of Sex and the City. Sadly she doesn't know which one. I've never seen the programme and wondered if someone might be able to shed some light into this sweet little mystery...


What an artist. Just found John's music by chance about 3 years ago and fell in love with him. Have most of his albums and love them all dearly. Rest Easy big man.


Still reeling from the news of John's passing despite the passage of time. I have been listening to his music since my first years at university and later at art school and he is truly without peers. Watched the "Johnny too Bad" documentary recently on Google video and was saddened somewhat at his deterioration. Trawled the net and was increasingly saddened and moved by his spiralling health, a friend gave me a copy of the double Roundhouse London gig and to tell the truth I could only bring myself to listen to it once, his voice had quietly disintegrated at the end of a turbulent and at times self-destructive life. I started a body of work not long after hearing of his death last year and will be having an exhibition of it next month, entitled "Solid Air-Remembering John Martyn" it's the only way as an artist I could make some sort of sense of his loss. I can post a link to the site for the gallery once the date is confirmed.....


Apologies if you can't see the pics without being signed-in to Facebook, I don't have a website so I just thought I'd put them on the web any way I could......... love and peace Ian.


John Martyn, well what can one say, when moved to tears!
When he was at his best he was better than Dylan and Morrison combined!!!! That's how awesome I think he was.

Ans By

I don't know if you get to see the BBC's 'Ashes to Ashes' series, but my wife had recorded the programme of Friday 14th May and we watched it a few days later. It got to a short sequence when the main male & female characters were getting ready for a date together and so the film was cutting between scenes of the two of them. As the music was faded in, after about three notes I said to my wife, "It's John Martyn", and quickly realised it was Couldn't Love You More (One World version). This fitted the film superbly and it played quite a reasonable part of the song.


I recently watched the first season of Doc Martin on DVD (2004) and in the episode "Of All The Harbours Of All The Towns", there is a conversation between Elaine & Al that goes:
(E): Do you like Portishead?
(A): Yeah, Glory Box... brilliant song
(E): Yeah, I know it.
(A): ... and have you heard John Martyn's cover of Glory Box-now that is unreal...
(E): (amazed) You know John Martyn? Like... no-one knows John Martyn!
(A): Know him, I've got every single album...
Cheers, Dan.

I was fortunate enough to be able to record a John Martyn song on Danielle Lubene's newest album - 'Post Cards from the Sea of Me'...She was having a hard time picking one to do, I think it was a toss up between 'Man in the Station' and 'Bless the Weather'. She chose 'Bless the Weather', and it features some sublime bass work from Bill Melcher. I got lucky enough to play the guitar stuff! If anyone wants to hear it, go to She's going to be touring the record, and we look forward to getting over to England in the near future. We are all fans, whose lives have been changed by the grace and danger of John's life and music. Cheers for keeping the faith, y'all! Doug Ashby.


If you have not read 'Some People are Crazy' - The John Martyn Story, then you must, now! Without doubt John was an outstanding creative - and this book just gives a real feel and flavour for the man.


I was trying to find the exact date I saw John in Adelaide in 1983 & found that you don't have that gig listed. It was at the Opera Theatre (now called her Majesty's Theatre) & I'm reasonably sure he had performed in Perth, West Australia, a couple of days before. My wife & I didn't know his music well then, but as it was life before kids we took a punt & it was a stunning show full of power, emotion & of course, hilarity!! Cheers, Christopher.


Well we have it now thanks to Peter Howell: 22 January 1983, Adelaide, Opera Theatre (58 Grote Street). Saturday evening, 8:00 pm. Admission $ 13.90. The Perth gig is still a mystery though.


Hi , I'm sure I went to a gig at Exeter uni in the 70's, would have to have been between 76 and 79 whilst I was a student at Exeter College of Art. I can't find it in your listings - I can't be imagining it, can I? Can anyone help me find this piece of the jigsaw? Thanks Nick.

There is one date now that qualifies: 11 Nov 1978, Exeter, Exeter University.

One year has passed for us, not a day for ya! Cool trick man! Lemme sing again for ya: "I know you - I love you - You are my friend - You'll follow me - Everywhere."


I see an earlier posting from myself dated April 2006. The band is still playing and weather permiting 24th Jan Queens Head Monmouth. An evening of John Martyn the raw stuff with a lot of love and passion. If your interested I have a little bit of stuff on the m-space thingy search martynised hope you enjoy miss him loads but in my heart forever alllove allluck Peter.

Cwmbran, Wales

Hadn't checked the site for months so it was a shock to learn of JM's death. I had attended McMaster University in Hamilton,Ont. back in 1974-76 & some friends introduced me to JM's music after seeing him open for Yes at Maple Leaf Gardens. Mike Nestler & Tom Owens were the two students that interviewed JM in Toronto June 3,1977 for the new McMaster Radio station. I was living in Vancouver so they sent me a cassette tape of their interview. I passed it on to John Hillarby & the next thing I know it is out "there" all grubby. I kept the original & it is in fine form. I just digitalized it and sent the CD off to Hans at this site. It is very good and a laugh when you look back & listen to old friends who were so much younger then. The tape lasts about 33 minutes and Hans should put it up. I have been in contact with Mike for the first time in 32 years & I'm sending him a copy. He will pass it on to Tom. JM was agreat one to get me through some hard times probably like alot of you. He will be missed.

Webmaster: I will put it up as soon as I can find the time. Thanks a lot for the CD!


Does anybody know if there'll be an event in south Wales to remember John Martyn around the first anniversary of his sad death on January 29 2010?

Pontypridd, Wales

First saw John opening act for Supertramp at Glasgow City Hall around 1973/74.. May You never, top 5 songs of Always/ R.I.P. Genius.


Does anyone know how to get the VHS tape "In Vision"? There are some performances on there that I remember seeing when they were first aired that aren't on the BBC live DVD. It seems impossible to find an original of that tape these days.


Great, great, website. I am a JM fan - have been ever since I went - being ignorant of his music prior - to see him on his Sundays Child tour (winter 74-75) at Lancaster Uni. I was totally, totally gobsmacked then, and remain so 34 years on. His guitar playing absolutely amazing - I never figured out what he was doing really, for years. But the *sounds* he made... something quite undescribably emotive. I never met the geezer himself, BUT I did have a kind of 'interaction'... from about 20 seats to my left (I was on front row) Leadmill Sheffield (Sapphire tour) - I had the habit of mimicking (trying to) Johns right hand picking pattern with my right hand, on my knee. At one stage he just quite clearly stared down at my hand, stared for about 5 to 10 seconds, whilst he continued playing, then carried on singing. I stopped after that - thinking it may be annoying him - a bit like a stare from a schoolmaster to a kid in morning assembly. Amazed he picked up on it though from that far away. Anyway, wish I could annoy the old bugger now... a great loss.


I spent a couple of years in the late 1980s as John's guitar maker and technician; had some extraordinary times with him at gigs, in bars, at his house, on the road. Loved the man and infuriated by him - that was John though. I've got some untold stories and unpublished photos if anyone's doing research and wants to find out more.

United Kingdom

i'm new to john. fell in love with go down easy, then solid air. so i google him and found an older man with a very strong scottish accent. yet the young john, it seems, had a very clipped british accent. can anyone explain?

Webmaster: It has to do with the places where John grew up. Read any biography or several articles on this very website.


I only heard about John on the 29th January 2009 and I have been listening to his music every day since. His ability to express those things that usually go unsaid has captivated me completely. I wish I could have discovered him sooner, or been born a few decades earlier! Rest in peace John xx.


I just can't believe the big man's gone. Got most CDs and a few LPs!. Saw him in Folkestone in '86-Brilliant!!!! Sorely missed-never knew about this site, will visit often, Cheers Big Man!!!!!


It feels like I have known you for a lifetime...


Privileged to have met him in the late 70's when playing in a support folk band. He basically changed my life and has been an inspiration from then on. Could make you weep then and can still do the same now. Can you ever come to terms when something so magical is gone. His music lives on and will play me out when I shuffle off.


I remember bumping into a friend in the foyer of Cork Opera House after one of John Martyns gigs. He was a bit disgruntled claiming John's performance wasn't up to scratch. I retorted "Go on say's I, You should be priveliged to be in the same room as him he's a Legend, I wouldn't care if he barked for the entire 2 hours". That's what it was like for me. It's sad to think we won't get to see him play again. I have some unbelievable memories from Johns music, good times bad times. RIP Big John Martyn.

Cork City

I shared a basement coldwater flat in Parsons Green in 1967-8 and JM used to visit as it was a hangout for Scottish folkies such as Clive Palmer, etc. I'd just come back from Spain with a fancy new Spanish guitar and was learning classical music. One day John heard me playing "Romance de Amor" and asked me to teach it to him. I'd been practising it for months and in about 30 mins John had it down pat and had started to improvise as only he could. We all used to go to Les Cousins in Soho for the weekend all nighters. I still have a recording of one of John's sessions there, that I will always treasure. Also, Davy Graham used to play there, and my two heros of British folk/jazz/blues guitar are now gone. Hope Bert Jansch still has a few good ones left. RIP, John Gibson from Canada, now Thailand.

Khon Kaen

What a sad loss. One will never forget such genius. Regards Marc.


"One day without you, and I feel just like some lost ship at sea". Very sorry to hear of John's passing. Condolences to his family and nearest & dearest. I've been a HUGE fan from London Conversation through to On the Cobbles and was promised a 50th birthday present trip to the UK to see him later this year. I was lucky enough to see him live in the late 70's and early 80's and those memories will certainly suffice.


A true one off! Will be sorely missed.
howard ahmun (arrans cousin)

Cardiff, Wales

Finding out that John Martyn died was like finding a lost love and losing him again. I saw him perform twice at Clark University in Worcester MA I believe in 1975 and 1977. At the second concert I remember he was very drunk and shouted at the audience and we all wondered if he'd get through the concert which he barely did. He had already instantly become my favorite singer and I listened to him ever since, always wondering what happened to him, because I never really heard about him after 1980 and my life went in other directions. I had wondered if he really just went over the edge or lost notoriety. But no other male singer has moved me like he does. So sad to hear about his death and hardships. So glad he won deserved awards. So glad to have his music and so glad to be able to order more.

Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

I first 'discovered' John & his music when I was at college in Glasgow in the late 60s. A college friend was an ex-girlfriend of John before he went to London and she talked about his music. I then was blown away when I heard it for myself. I actively sought out any of his recordings that I could. A teaching colleague knew how much I liked him & twice bought me albums-Solid Air & Sunday's Child. I managed to see him at Glasgow City Halls with my husband, who also loved his music, & now remember that superb evening with great emotion.His music has been with me throughout my life from the late 60s until now & I can't believe there will never be any more new music from him. It has been difficult to get to sleep since hearing that he'd died as my head is filled with his songs when I lie in bed. How much worse it must be for his family & close friends. My heart & thoughts are with you all. One of life's geniuses has been taken from us but at least we had him on this earth for a short time. You may be gone but your music will live on.

United Kingdom

John was and is the soundtrack of my life. Please Hans, keep the Big Muff going, Love all the JM fans.


Hi there, Words cannot describe how I feel - 'Friends all tell me that I look so sad' etc.... I've put together my own small tribute piece on He was - is - always will be part of the soundtrack of my life. The lyrics, songs, albums, gigs, musicians, musicianship, the raw emotion, the intertwining sophisticated tapestry of the music. 'May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold' - Thank you so much John.


hey.... hoorde het daarnet, een vriend stuurde me een bericht. erg jammer!

Just wanted to add my thoughts to the fantastic contributions already on this site. I was driving down to London to play a gig with my band when I heard the news on Thursday. A massive shock, yet most of us who knew of John knew that he was not in the best of health for the past few years. John had been the soundtrack to my life since 1973 when I was 13 in the ups and downs of life. He was brilliant, volatile, reckless, tender but, above all, he was capable of the most achingly beautiful songs - I will miss him terribly but, at least, his music lives on. There is a brilliant tribute from Danny Baker on his BBC London Thursday afternoon show - check it out while you can. His reaction says it all. God bless, big man.


The Day the Music Died, if Don McLean is to be believed, was February 3rd 1959, when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed in a plane crash. For me, the day was Thursday 29th January 2009, when John Martyn departed this world. I first encountered John s music on the BBC s Rock Goes to College in the early 80s. Playing songs off his then current Grace and Danger album, something about him impressed me. The music was jazzy-sounding harmonically and rhythmically far more sophisticated than anything else I had heard up until that point. The next day, I parted with £3.99 for the album at my local Virgin Records and my life-long love affair with John Martyn s music really began.

At 17, I couldn't fully appreciate the emotions surrounding a divorce which were laid bare so obviously on Grace and Danger but I instinctively knew this music was real. It transcended mere verbal understanding it communicated on a whole different level to anything else I had ever heard. And so on I delved into Martyn s back catalogue: Bless The Weather, Solid Air, Inside Out, Sunday's Child, One World - and on into his future work for the remainder of our time together on this planet. And every time he played in Manchester I went to see him (over 30 times in total!) Sometimes he was truly awe-inspiring - better than anyone you could ever imagine. Sometimes he was too drunk (and/or stoned) and awful. But for me, this added to the allure.

JM was never merely predictably professional. You were going to get the show he wanted and you'd better make the most of it because he wasn't going to change for the sake of an audience! The music was truly created in the moment. On learning that he had had his right lower-leg amputated into 2003, I naturally feared for his health. His triumphant return to the stage the following year allayed my concerns, at least for the time-being. Sadly, each subsequent performance revealed an ever-larger John and by the start of 2007, it was clear from his Solid Air shows that his health had deteriorated considerably. I left the venue wondering if I would ever see him again.

Happily, one Lifetime Achievement Award later, I did. I saw John for what turned out to be the last time in November 2008. Billed as the Grace and Danger tour, he played the whole of the album which first introduced me to his music. Now in my mid-forties and smarting from my very own divorce he got to me all over again. Though by then a wheel-chair using mountain of a man, scarcely recognisable as the good-looking youth from his early album covers, that beautiful voice and unique guitar-playing easily asserted that it was the same creative force sitting right in front of me. This time I left with optimism.

Sadly, only one month on from his OBE, we lost John. That the last performance I witnessed by the great John Martyn ranks among the finest I have seen him give makes his passing so much worse. He could never be written off as a has been there was always the risk that the next album or the next gig might just be astounding I for one will really miss him.


Remember the first time I heard John, I think someone played me Solid Air when the album came out. She was a lovely girl, I couldn't understand a word John was singing ! It didn't matter, it's not the words, it's not the music, it's the synergy or something. Of course now I do know every word. I think John and all of us knew that this time was not far away, I'm glad he's left us so much. In his own recent words You're here for a good time, not a long time.

Chipping Ongar

Saw John many times in the 70's. Sometimes brilliant, sometimes shall we say interesting, never dull! Good to see that over the last couple of years the genius of the man and his contribution to modern music gaining the recognition it deserves. RIP John.


The news of your passing made my cry, in 30 years that's the second time. Heard you play in Hastings in the pub for beer money each week - damn you were good. Thanks for the music and just so much. RIP.

Sidcup, Kent

You were there at the beginning John and have stayed with me since. Big guy, bigger heart worn well and truly on your sleeve and a uniqueness we will likely never see the likes of again. All the best John.

I have listened to nothing but John, since hearing the dreadful news. I have been listening to John's music for thirty five years. I met him several times, which was easy, because John was so very approachable. My heart goes out to those closest to him. They have lost so much more than just John. For me, he will live on in every song. Bye John.


I only got 'in' to John Martyn in recent years, but I'd known about him since I was in single figures. Memories of family get togethers, that stretched out into the small hours. Living room immersed in clouds of smoke from ciggarettes and other more 'exotic' herbs, all soundtracked by the sound of an acoustic guitar, and a voice that somehow managed to be both pure and unintelligible.

Fifteen years later I caught a snippet of an acoustic guitar player on the TV in the pub. A BBC2 re-run of The Old Grey Whistle Test. John Martyn was making an acoustic guitar sound like an entire orchestra during a rendition of the old blues song 'I'd Rather Be The Devil'. I wasn't even sure that I liked it, but I loved his musical ability, and later that night the CD of Solid Air was liberated from my fathers collection, and re-housed. Some time later, a different generation of the same family was housing similar get togethers to a similar soundtrack, the One World album, and in particular, 'Small Hours', being my swan song of choice to conclude a night of party.

My first live encounter with John was on the Solid Air remembered tour. The Glasgow date. A drunk John was wheeled on to stage and his first words were, 'I dreamt I'd died last night. I wish I had!'. Black humour obviously, but what an introduction to your musical hero! As the songs passed, so did the drinks, and we were waved on our way by a rendition of 'Rock, Salt, and Nails'. 2008 saw 'May You Never' being played at my wedding, and on honeymoon in Malta I happened across a copy of the John Martyn biography, 'Some People are Crazy', in the middle of a Maltese bookshop. This became my holiday reading. I last saw John last November in Glasgow. I almost missed the gig due to being in Berlin with a hangover on the morning of the concert, with a flight out of there seeming a herculean feat. I managed though, and John blew away any cobwebs that remained, with a breathtaking rendition of Grace and Danger. John seemed to have lost weight since I'd last seen him, and certainly seemed more jovial, exchanging banter with the audience between songs. I was deeply saddened by the news on Thursday morning. I'd envisioned more gigs, more banter, more stories. Just more. I never met him, but I'll miss John. My thoughts are with his family and friends. Brian Slevin.


I'm struggling to process the fact that I will never have the pleasure of seeing him again. As long as I'm alive he will never be dead to me.

East Harlsey

Hi Hans, A little late, but I just heard about John Martyn's passing. It's a sad thing to hear and it's great to have his music live on through people like yourself. It's a shame that I've never really took the time to get to know his works. But it's never too late to get properly acquainted with John Martyn's music right? Do you perhaps have some pointers for a starter? Thanks. Groetjes, Bree Btw, it's been a while since I've been on this site and I like what you've done with it. Well done.


Cannot believe John Martyn has left the stage for good. One of the real greats of modern music, he provided the soundtrack to all of our lives. Rest easy "Friends will tell me that I look so sad, They don't need to ask me why, They know the reason that I feel so bad, Since the night you said 'Goodbye'".