Dublin, National Stadium, 04 May 1983

6 May 1983
The Irish Times
Mark Prendergast

John Martyn at the Stadium

BONNIE wee John Martyn was back in town on Wednesday night to play his heart out to his favourite audience. A firm liker of these temperate climes, Martyn gave value for money with a potpourri of electric folk music lasting over 21/2 hours.

Having altered his emphasis to electric guitar in recent years, John shines through on rock material, leaving the acoustic stuff to the sideline. Catching him on Sweet Little Mystery, I sensed a sweet balance which hinged on jazz. A quick change of axe and a rocked-up version of Dealer goes down a treat. Martyn is expert at coaxing melancholy from the electric guitar and the pained emotion of Outside In sounded better than on the early Seventies classic Inside Out.

Donning an acoustic, he hit troubled waters, as the instrument was badly out of tune. A mediocre version of Spencer The Rover confirmed his recent preoccupation with electric material.

Harking back to earlier days, he gave a great blues rendition of Jellyroll Man1 before rocking up the set with songs from Well Kept Secret, his most recent LP. Like an everlasting flame, his old material outshone the new, with One World and Solid Air the best songs of the night. "Some of us live like princes and some of us live like kings, but some of us just live like you and me..." John Martyn's Scottish heart is still in his music.

MARK PRENDERGAST

1 muffnote: The Easy Blues.

This concert took place Wednesday 4th May 1983. Review kindly provided by James Quinn.

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