What a Combination

Reading Chronicle

SOME alliances are just too brain-achingly bizarre to get a grip on.
For example, in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Robert de Niro played opposite Richard Briers.
Surely that couldn't really have happened. Gerry Adams sitting down for a cosy chat with Patrick Mayhew? Fair enough. Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat involved in a bit of cosy parley over tea and crumpet? Yeah, why not. But Travis Bickle meets Tom out of The Good Life? Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction.

Taking this concept to its mind-expanding apotheosis at the moment is John Martyn. Incredibly, the fabled Scot guitar hero, renowned for his synthesis of folk, jazz, rock and ill-advised facial hair, has turned his hand to Chicago hip-hop. Take a minute to think about it.
It's a brave -and exceedingly long limbed- man who's prepared to straddle the gulf between Fairport Convention and The Beastie Boys, and the results will be nothing less than interesting.

The album - tentatively titled 'Snooo', is due out in October,1 but fans will get a taste of things to come when John headlines Sunday's line-up at next week's Bracknell Festival.2
The big man spoke to Sounds about how the project came about:
"I went to Chicago to record my last album and fell in love with it," he explains. "I really love black American culture and when I went out to the clubs where the music was really big it blew me away. It's the energy of it that's exciting."

But how have the diehard Martyn faithful taken to this new direction (or, more accurately, diversion, as John insists it's strictly a one-off venture)?
"The audiences we've played to so far seem to love it," he says, somewhat relieved. "I was expecting a more adverse reaction, but although we get the odd shout for the old stuff, on the whole they're loving it. Besides, the set is a mixture of old and new anyway, so nobody goes home disappointed."
John insists the lyrical style of the new songs is 100 per cent Martyn. "It's just the sound that's new - a totally different experience for me."

And for you. Check it out - you might not see anything quite like it again.

John Martyn is scheduled to play at the Bracknell Festival, South Hill Park, at 7:30 pm on Sunday 2). For ticket information phone 01344 484 123.

Beardie Boy: Big John turns funky.

The article was published in the Sounds section of what appears to be the Reading Chronicle.
1 In fact, And was released nine months later, July 29 1996, but during the 1995 tour the Snooo CD was distributed.
2 The gig took place July 2 1995.

Photocopy provided by Martin Claridge