Island (LP, cassette, CD)
PIECE BY PIECE John Martyn Island
John Martyn is a gem of a musician waiting to be discovered. The Scottish born Martyn has produced a dozen innovative albums during the past 18 years, attracting only a smattering of public acclaim. "Piece by Piece" might redress that. It is another example of Martyn's formidable song-writing, singing and production skills.
Martyn proves he deserves higher profile
Scotland-born John Martyn has never been a commercial success and that's too bad. It's travesty compounded in the case of Martyn's latest offering, Piece By Piece, because a couple of the tunes here, in the hands of less-eccentric artists, would simply sell millions.
Piece By Piece is Scottish singer-songwriter John Martyn's 18th album, and it continues in the sophisticated, pseudo-jazzy direction of its most recent predecessors.
Speaking of cool, this guy's the master, with his gurgly, jazz-flecked cooing, and finger-popping, hip ditties.
Great voice, great songs, wonderfully produced.
The long, sustained note curls loops over a reggae-flavored Linndrum, a fat-toned bass and floating synth voices. Augmented by delay and overdrive, the note burns toward feedback as John Martyn, eyes closed, sways feelingly onstage at New York's Bottom Line, then steps to the mick to propel the lyrics with his soulful, breathy tenor. After 18 years as a performer and a dozen lp's to his credit, Martyn still digs deep inside himself to find the spontaneous sounds that express his very personal vision.
It's not easy being a confirmed romantic, says British songwriter John Martyn. "I probably reveal too much of self when I write a song. It gets embarrassing when I meet people from the audience, because they know more about me than I know about myself."
I asked four or five of my more musically knowledgeable friends if they had ever heard John Martyn sing.
Atmospheric synthesizer and folk-guitar improvisations with a Caribbean feel.