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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While I am obviously a fan of JM, I thought you might be interested in how I found out about him. It was through an acid jazz DJ from England, Gilles Peterson. On one of his mixes, I heard the track Solid Air. Needless to say, I bought the album...

Dublin
Ireland

As we are close to Christmas, I wondered whether anyone can think of a John Martyn Christmas song? I consider myself reasonably acquainted with JM's output but I cannot think of anything he has done which is even vaguely Christmas - can you? Regards, John

Liverpool
UK

It's great reading these reviews of recent shows. I've seen JM twice in the last couple of years, York Opera House and Salford Lowry. Excellent both times. Also a few other times over the last 25 years. I'm trying to track down the DVD that was made of the BBC documentary last year 'Putting my Best Foot Forward'. I believe such a thing exists, does anyone know where or how I can get hold of a copy?

Manchester
UK

We couldn't get any takers for the tickets offered above - so went to the Monday night gig at Bein Inn. I'm so pleased we did. The music was fine -a great Rock, Salt and Nails- a rather (understandably) going through the motions May You Never and a gripping Solid Air. Highlight was No Little Boy - where at such close quarters the emotion and troubles of JM's recent times were really obvious. He sang 'no little boy left inside me any more' and looked like an upset and scared little boy - very personal and intensely moving. At times when the music took off he seemed happy and relaxed-but John, I do worry for you - peace and love Pete.

Aberdeen
Scotland

My wife and I were at the gig in Carlisle on Saturday (3rd) evening. About 200 people apparently. John plus band didn't even appear until about 11.10pm!!! and played (without a break) for over two hours. Thoroughly enjoyable despite taking 40 mins or so for people at the front of the gig to sit down. The music was awesome especially My Creator and Sunshine's Better. Any news on the new album anyone? Keith.

Saw John at the Cellar Door in Washington DC, around 74???? Can't remember exactly... Help anyone? Was already a big fan by then. Great show, per audience prompting he never picked up the electric. Even took a few requests.

Webmaster: Can't seem to find this gigdate anywhere. More probably 1977 or 1978.

Baltimore, Maryland
USA

Saw John in Newcastle in '03 or '04 ?, then in London and Newcastle in May, this year then at Bein Inn on Sunday and will see him in Carlisle on Saturday. I am only making up for the last 30 years of listening to silly other music when I should have been following Big John, he did himself proud on Sunday, keep going John!!

Carlisle
UK

In the past 40 years I have seen nearly everyone in music and no-one came close to what I saw last night at The Bein Inn... Of course I had heard of the Great man but until you see someone live -warts and all-, how they handle feedbacks and sound problems (1st show night), you see greatness. And lastly I have been in the stadiums where I was the only one standing but not last night... We were all standing - applauding a Genius.

Aberargie
Scotland

Just home from the first of the Bein Inn gigs (27.11.05); Started just after 9pm and over at 11.45 or thereabouts, an interval for a short while about 10. Wonderful evening, a real privlege to have been there. Some small sound issues in the early part, more due to the size of the room than anything else I suspect, but not enough to dampen the evening. I think John was enjoying himself! I will leave the set list to those with more extensive knowlege of John's work. A wonderful evening, I know the rest of the week is sold out, but if you can acquire a ticket, DO.

Fife
Scotland

We've two tickets for sale for the Monday (28 November) and two for the Tuesday (29 November) JM gigs at the Bein Inn Perth. Unfortunately we can't make it. If you'd like to buy them -preferably for both nights- at the cost price (£ 40 each ticket) give me a ring on 07733441438. Don't bother offering more than the cost - it's first come first served.

Aberdeen
Scotland

Have been listening to John since I was a child (due to older brothers' almost constant JM playing!) really got into his music about 8 years ago and haven't been the same since. What a legend! Brilliant site, keep up the good work.

Waterford
Ireland

John Martyn November Dates in Ireland: 18 November 2005 8.00pm Connolly's of Leap Cork 19 November 2005 8.00pm Connolly's of Leap Cork 22 November 2005 8.00pm 25 Glor Clare 23 November 2005 8.00pm Seamus Ennis Centre Dublin 24 November 2005 8.30pm 32.5 Spirit Store Louth 25 November 2005 8.00pm Spring And Airbrake Antrim More details at http://entertainment.ie/event/JohnMartyn/2295431.htm

Dublin
Ireland

I was surprised to hear some JM in 24 Hour Party People -a highly amusing film about the Manchester eighties music scene. After about ten minutes one can clearly hear some One World sounds in a lounging environment. This is just before the punk outbreak, which is well chosen. The plot says it is 1976, though, which is not quite correct as One World surfaced november 1977.

Tilburg
Netherlands

Did anyone else notice that two of big J's songs appeared in Coronation Street tonight? In a touching early love scene Sweet Little Mystery was playing on a stereo in the room and later on in the programme, the aborted love scene ended with Ways To Cry playing whilst Gale Tynsley cried. Both versions appeared to include Phil Collins on backing vocals - I suspect they come from the No Little Boy album. Nice to hear John getting such a massive audience. Regards, John

Liverpool
UK

I am 55 this month and only discovered Big John 3 years ago - how could I waste 52 years like that?

Loughborough
England

We love you John. When are you coming to Sheffield again?

Sheffield
UK

Hi Hans - love the photo of John and just want to say hello again. I've been unfaithful recently in that I've been spending more time on the Roy Harper mailing list, Stormcock, but that doesn't mean I've lost interest in John, just been diverted. In fact I'm embarking on a surreptitious John promotion campaign through that very same list. Plan is to Martynise people without them realising.. On Newsnight last night, in a documentary about urban sprawl, they used Solid Air as background music, so there is still support at the BBC!

Newbury
UK

Have to say how impressed and overjoyed I am at seeing Peter Corrigan's pictures of JM at the Roisin Dubh. The one of John that Peter has called "I believe" in particular is stunning. Peter, I wish I was where you where that day with that camera. Thank you for being there and making that image. Regards, John Michael Mcdonald

Liverpool
UK

Just a short note, was at Wexford last weekend great show and a satisfied audience to boot. It is nice to hear people singing along to May You Never, it makes you recall what a warm song it really is. Anyway staying at the Riverbank House Hotel I was as you can imagine overjoyed at spending some drinking time with the big man himself. The evening drifted in and out with the rest of the band joining after packing the kit away oh for the life of an International celebrity. John was in a buoyant mood particularly after obtaining the night s purse from the somewhat dwarfed Nigel. John really is blessed with having some very lovely people close to him. His own personal Angel Teresa in particular. I managed to sing a few songs with the man that ranged from Taj Mahal to Irish ballads. So until I get it all down on paper bye for now, Peter.

Cwmbran, Wales
United Kingdom

First seen in 1981 in Waterford, been to many gig's since and just can't get enough of the man. Have managed to accquire all his studio albums and love them all, keep it going "Big John" you're beyond brilliant. Great site by the way.

Waterford
Ireland

Just to let you know I have a live concert master reel of John in concert, discovered when moving house. The date is marked 19/2/77 recorded in Nottingham again?. Cannot find any reference to gig on your site. Duration 1 hour and mixed seperatly for TX ie quality ex, not via a soundboard. Could be of interest to fans, looking to licence, or sell complete to a record company

UK

The first thing I'd like to say is - Thank you! Thank you for being so passionate and patient and driven to take the initiative to put together such an incredible website, so that other lazy (so called) fans like me can benefit. I can't lay claims to being a fan for exceptional number of years, the magic happened recently, but it just took one blow and I was a goner. The first time I heard Solid Air it was an out of body experience. I've read through most of the posts and noticed that nearly all are from people in the UK and Europe and I have to say that I am completely envious because you get to see him live whenever you want (more like whenever he plays!), all his rare recordings, for that matter ALL his recordings are so easily available to you.. I say it's just not fair. I'm yet to see a John Martyn Album in stores in India. I will see him live one day, along with my other absolute favourite Chris Rea. Apart from Solid Air I love his Grace and Danger and Glorious Fool albums. Of course I'm still on a quest to obtain All his albums Once again, it's a great website and thank you. Cheers!

Mumbai
India

Great to see other fanatics. Can I correct an inaccuracy? Dublin is Ireland not Northern Ireland. I was there for Vicar St gig when JM was described as not well. Some Irish girls at that gig were in tears due to his perceived condition. I talked to some sympathetic guy who was filming this but never heard of any outcome. Just to put the record straight, after his cold bath and wearing slippers and seated he was absolutely magnificent. Sorry for the bias but we love the man and all he represents!!

Webmaster: thanx for the tip, corrected the typo (2001).

Belfast
Northern Ireland

Aren't we the lucky ones!!! John doing a four night gig at an excellent pub venue only 20 minutes from my house, and with an audience of only 60 people. Rubbish! I hear you say but I can assure you it is true. Try the following link. www.beininnmusic.com I told you it was true!!!!!!!!!!!!!! David Spence

Webmaster: David is right, will be autumn before this specialty will be served.

Scotland

Hey... Been a while since i visited here... we wrote up something on Mizar5, highlighting John Martyn... Feel free to roam the premises... Kind regards, Gina www.mizar5.net

Netherlands

Gone yerself Big John and the black skelf... Just found an old recording of the Henry Afrika's show in Glasgow from many years ago.. A right good night ... Far better than the Genesis/ Gabriel reunion gig in Milton Keynes 1982, not one of John's best. Any chance of another acoustic tour sometime soon? Keep on touring Big John.. Scotland's best kept secret.. On two legs or one.

Webmaster: Dan, I know this gig, it was quite a night. Stuart Lapping from Australia made some nice entries about it a few years back.

Greenock
Scotland

Just letting everyone know that John Martyn is doing an open air gig in Kinnitty Castle, Ireland on July the 31st. Old, supposedly haunted, castle in the centre of Ireland. He played here last year shortly after his operation and gave a performance that completely blew me away. Genius and felt like a kid watching my first live gig. Loads of his old stuff. He found it difficult to get up on stage but when the music took over he turned into a different man!!! He came alive. Worth taking a look at this year.

Roscrea
Ireland

Hi. In 1989 I went on a mini tour with John & Foster Paterson. I was sound engineer for the support act but did manage to get my fingers on John's sound during the tour. My favourite memory was John's comment he'd make to me after his show. "I think your boy got my sound again tonight." Nice.

Ilfracombe, Devon
UK

Hello, I was at Leeds Irish Centre - a tremendous show, it created an entrancing groove. I had never seen him live before, it made a huge impression. Was anyone else there, or can tell me the setlist? Mark.

Saw the Liverpool gig on 29th May in the Phil. Went to a Led Zep tribute band gig the night before, thought they where good. Until John came on stage. I was with my wife Julie who hasn't heard much John, she is a major supporter now though. This was awesome, fantastic whatever!! It was just brilliant and the people who watched John perform knew it too. Even if the Liverpool Echo did not review the concert who gives a F**K.. obviously the journo at the Echo, Joe Riley, who does the reviews doesn't know a good thing... John before I get too pissed writing this, it was an honour to be there you and the band were outstanding your music continues to inspire and enthuse me.. Good one big man.

Liverpool
England

Over the last decade or so, I have become a keen John Martyn fan after witnessing a performance in my home town (Newbury, England). Since then, I have seen him in concert around half a dozen times, and bought many of his albums. I was aware of JM from way back in the late 60s/ early 70s, but for some reason, was never a huge fan then (probably due to not hearing enough of his music). Anyway, I recently stumbled across your excellent website, and searched the list of gigs with interest, hoping to spot a performance that I witnessed in the early 70s. Alas, it was not there! So here are the details (or at least as much as I can remember).
Year - 1973 (a summer Saturday, probably in June).
Venue - a field at West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England.
Event - an all-day open-air concert.
Line-up - some obscure Country and Western acts, the Nashville Teens, Geordie, John Martyn, and (headlining) Roy Wood's Wizzard, who arrived at the venue in a 'novelty' train of the type normally to be found in English seaside resorts! The entire show was compered by former Radio One DJ Noel Edmonds. From my (admittedly hazy) memory of the event, JM played for less than a hour, performing a set heavy with Echoplex. I remember being quite impressed at the time, but not impressed enough to investigate his albums. I wonder if any other visitors to your website have any recollection of this day. Perhaps someone, somewhere may remember it. More to the point, I wonder if JM himself remembers anything about it, it being a somewhat unusual event! Keep up the good work,
zaterdag 04 juni 2005, 09:37:50 (CEST)

Newbury
England

It was the Soundscene 1973 Festival, held at the 26th of May.

Was a big fan of John in the mid-late 70s and lucky enough to see the great man a couple of times around 1978-80 (the exact dates blown away in the fog of time). One gig at Bourne Hall in Ewell, another at the old Epsom swimming baths. Remember being blown away by the music, the voice and, well, that voice. Still makes my ears prick up on the rare occasions the radio plays old tracks and newer ones I'm not familiar with. Plugging into the deepest memories of treasured music through Limewire I found the fabulous Talvin Singh-fettled Sunshine's Better and click, click, click and here I am. Can anyone point me in the direction of what else I've missed in the last 25 years? Ready to see another JM gig and realise I've just missed the Spring dates. Any word on any more in the London/SE area? Nice site by the way.

UK

We managed to dig up the Epsom Baths concert: Friday 17 October 1980. The Bourne Hall (West Ewell) is more difficult. There is a ticket in the Island Years box set dating this charity concert on 30 May, but without a year. Price level of £2.95 suggests 1979 or 1980 though..

A message for the Tour Manager who refused me permission to photograph John at the Phil in Liverpool on Sunday. I saw many people take photographs using compact digital cameras and phone cameras and I suspect they did not ask permission. I was particularly miffed by the guy who stepped out with his camera in the middle isle when John was doing a solo. Talk about being insensitive - I suspect that it did not occur to the guy that the flash would be intrusive. The guy sitting next to me (who I had never met before) had an mp3 recorder and was checking progress on a track-by-track basis with a small torch. I assume he did not ask permission to make a recording. What is this rant about? I had in the boot of my car the very latest S.O.T.A. digital camera equipment. Not mine, my company's but I know how to use it and I believe I could have produced half decent results on the night. I asked for and spoke to the duty manager of the Phil to seek permission to photograph John with the assurance that my purpose was not to make any commercial gain from the images but simply to offer them for use on the fan website(s)(muff and hillarby). I was told catagorically that I would not be allowed to take photographs. So a lesson to be learnt. Smuggle sound recording devices in and this is OK. Bring in your compact digitals and flash away and no-one will mind. (If you tried with your phone camera then you are excused of your ignorance so no-one who knows anything about photography is really going to be bothered with what you do). Use flash and treat John with the contempt of an animal specimen in the zoo and you will be excused. I am much impressed with the Bristol Colsten Hall image taken by Tim Dickesen on the muff homepage and look forward to hearing about how this was taken. Did you get permission to photograph Tim? Regards, John

Liverpool
UK

Just returned from seeing John for the first time in 16 years at The Lowry - Manchester. Absolutely fantastic!! The set included many of John's greats. Started with Glorious Fool-with a great dig at George Bush. 'Nothing's changed in the twenty years since I wrote the song about Reagan. We just got that little f@*k%"g monkey in charge instead'! Set included: Easy Blues, I'd Rather Be The Devil, John Wayne, Rock Salt & Nails, May You Never, Johnny Too Bad and, amongst others, a blinding version of Sunshines Better. The set finished after about 2 hours - or it seemed like it! John finished with by putting aside the guitar and just singing. At first I thought he would finish with Somewhere over the Rainbow, however he sang a song, and I'm ashamed to say I didn't recognise it but it was beautiful. So if anyone could give me a full track list of the gig I'd be grateful. It was a great evening and good to see the old bugger still as brilliant as ever!

Bury
UK

I've been a JM fan since I lived in Italy in the early 70's and I bought Road to Ruin, his first [?] with his then wife Beverly [2nd album - Stormbringer] Solid Air was his the first solo album I heard from him. I was playing it last night for a friend who wondered who it was and how long I've had it since we always trade CD's etc. When I said "the 70's" he was first astounded at the age of the recording considering the freshness of the sound and also hurt I hadn't shared it with him before [I'd given him the CD and he hadn't listened, apparently.] I saw him live in the late 80's in a little coffee-house in Toronto and it was magical. I was surprised and happy to find out he's still alive I thought that the booze had killed him. Now I can't wait to find out if he'll ever play in NA again.

Toronto
Canada

Have been seeing JM regularly for 10 years and have just seen his show at Colston Hall Bristol (May 21st) and feel that I have to write to make all aware of the quality of this gig - I reckon a real return to form - certainly the best I've seen since recent health problems.... maybe one of the best I remember. JM on great form - singing superb - guitar playing high in the mix so you could really hear it... percussive and driving. Fine performances from all of band and a great atmosphere on stage. Even better, he forgot the words to May You Never. I'm struggling to remember the set list... who cares... every song full on and fully played, JM looking like he was totally in the zone, building up long rhythmic intros. Finished set with John Wayne and I've never heard it played so well... a real show stopper... well it did stop the show. Did anyone else see this show? Am I just being overexcited? Like I said, I reckon this was a real return to form - but when is he going to play Angeline? Surely this is one of the finest.

Winchcombe, Glos
UK

Saw John last night in Glasgow. Wow. His whole set was fantastic and I can only say that throughout the concert I had the shivers run up from my chest, up to my head and down my spine. It was so moving. His backing band were phenomenal as per usual and still his brilliance and romantacism shone out from every tone in his voice and from his guitars. Downside - he was accompanied by Ian McNabb - which was almost like a gig of doom - I.M. sounded like Barry Manilow on guitar, very poor but made JM look even more fantastic. That help wasn't a requirement though!

Just got home from seeing John, one word phenomenal. I saw him 5 years ago as well, it was great to see him perform again.

*** Message for Ian Stewart *** Not quite the complete set from Warwick Univ but most of it: Glorious Fool, Couldn't Love You More, Excuse Me Mister, Lookin On, Big Muff, Jelly Roll Blues, May You Never, My Creator, Wildflower, Sunshine's Better, Johnny Too Bad, Never Let You Go.

Northampton
UK

Was also at the Shepherd's Bush Empire gig, thought JM played magnificently! It all seemed to come together much better than the SBE gig last Autumn, possibly due to his improving health (altough I did notice that he looked much heavier this time around) that didn't affect his playing or his banter with the audience (we've come to take the latter for granted but shouldn't do as its quite rare these days to find an artist that is so tuned into his audiences' thoughts and reactions etc - he listens to his audience, someone shouted out 'Jelly Roll' after he started a new song and he still acknowledged them)! Did anyone notice Ian McNabb's guest bass player was none other than Roy Corkhill -who is CMP's agent- who promoted the JM tour!

Saw John play last night at Salisbury. Fantastic. I would like a set list if anyone wrote it down. Vanda

Saw John at Shepherds Bush on May 17th. I've always loved his music and been knocked out by his technique so I was really looking forward to seeing his again for the first time since a Brunel University gig nearly 30 years ago. The whole band were amazing. Just as well cos that's all I heard. Apart from a few solo's and the beautifully played accoustic section, his guitar was completely drowned by everything else. Am I the only one who thought that he was playing "unplugged". It was great to watch him play but, thanks to a sound check that didn't, I hardly heard a note and we left well before the end. Bummer.

To all JM guitar freaks and fans generally. Let me share some observations on the recent Basingstoke concert on Sunday 15 th May 2005. It was welcome return to top form for JM and his band on both a technical and content level. JM played his Gibson SG (which looked like the repaired original whose head stock was broken last year) tuned CFCCGD and a Martin acoustic tuned to DADGAD and other tunings. (PS please someone get him a digital tuner, I was worried that he totally lost it at one stage it was handled very amusingly but!). The Martin was fitted with an internal (not a Fishman type sound hole or a DeArmond) pick up and probably DI'd. But the real revalation was his effects and amp set up. He used an Echoplex (not the pair of rack mount Alesis Quadraveb digital delays)and you could hear the difference it is by far the best sounding echo for JM material and cteaed a real 70's feel. On top of the JC120 amp was what appeared to me a DI box and the Echoplex foot switch control. On the floor was an Ernie Ball volume pedal, Electro Harmonix Qtron+ (an excellinet Mutron envelope follower replacement), a Poco Rat distrortion pedal and a Boss DD3 digital delay pedal. Johns guitar playing was superb and he reworked classics and the Ben Harper cover with heavy use of the "Mutron" and the Rat pedal. Alan Thomson's fretless bass was lovely although too high in the volume mix of the PA for most of the evening. Aruns drumming is second to none. Fosters keyboard playing and the sound was the best I have heard in a long time and used more piano tone rather than synth soundscapes. What an inspring concert and long may they continue! Apologies if this rather anorakEEE!

UK

Anyone got a complete set list for last Saturday's Warwick concert? from Ian Stewart (The man who only knew eight of the songs!)

Northampton
UK

John Martyn simply changed the format of music as we know it for me. I met him at Kinnity Castle in Ireland last year and saw him live. The most AMAZING LIVE ACT in years. It made me want to cry with euphoria. You're my roll model John.

Tullamore
Ireland

Saw John for the first time in Vicar Street on Monday. The man is on a planet that none of us will ever know. He made me escape the physical world, I felt like he'd knocked down everything around me. He was just sittin there singing like a massiah. Nice one.

Hello, I want to hear from fans of 'Solid Air', the album will be featured on a radio series for the BBC about classic albums. Why is it so good, what are the stand out tracks for you? Cheers, Carol.

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