I SAW John Martyn on Sight And Sound In Concert1 and was amazed at the sounds he got from his acoustic guitar. What did he use to achieve these effects? If he used a special gadget, how does it work? – Neil Sutherland, Finchley, London N12.
"Actually," admits John Martyn, as he gives in to one of the great groundswells of spluttering, infectious laughter that carry along his speech, "I see myself as a dignified observer of the music business. I feel a bit like a voyeur sometimes. I just flit in and out. I really" -now he's offering great howls of very honest laughter- "don't want much to do with it."
Maybe it's simply the unique foggy voice, at its most hoarsely suggestive on Dealer, one of this new album's many compelling tracks; or just the man's awesome ability to trick out what are invariably simple songs with ravishing detail – as witness here Dancing, unfeignedly joyous and wrapped around a few brief guitar phrases.
This full page advert quotes two reviews, one from Melody Maker's Monty Smith (19 November) and one from Vivien Goldman (Sounds, 26 November). This places the earliest possible publishing date at 3 December.
PRESUMABLY, John Martyn, who's been around so long even his most devoted followers must take him for granted, doesn't give a monkey's toss about Making It In A Big Way, but there's still no excuses for the performer's lackadaisical attitude at the Rainbow last Monday.1
That the gig was still enjoyable, if hardly stimulating and occasionally dull (when Martyn, augmented by electric back-up, failed to extract any inspiration from his musicians on several pieces of rifferama), is a measure of Martyn's talent rather than his personality.
London saw a new John Martyn on Monday night at the Rainbow. He seemed to have brought his highly original echoplexed approach to the guitar under control after the pit of self-indulgence he fell into about 18 months ago,
The definitive John Martyn album, however, will be in your shops very soon. Called One World, the album is his finest achievement to date.
It's been something like three years since Martyn's last studio album, Sunday's Child. One World's a natural progression. So fine-spun you half expect the record to float on and off the deck.
We might have been warned of some of the problems the evening had in store when John Martyn's long-serving accompanist, the double bass player Danny Thompson, stepped on stage for a brief solo spot.