Southampton, June 1974

29 Jun 1974
New Musical Express
Frank Dixie

John Martyn/ Southampton

"NICE TO see ya," cried the exuberant John Martyn in between yet another pint of cloudy beer. "To see ya nice," was the spontaneous reply. And indeed it was.
With the preliminaries over John began the task of stimulating the semi-conscious audience. This was achieved successfully with help from nimble-fingered double bass player Danny Thompson, whose musical reflexes suggested he was having multiple orgasms.

The act began with 'Inside Out' 1, a heavy instrumental number with great emphasis on the echo-chamber, but, there was something definitely missing which Mr. Martyn quickly remedied by downing another pint. The guitar and bass were very tight (tight meaning together) which was shown in 'Bless The Weather' and 'Jelly Roll Baby' 2.

I didn't realise until now what a good voice John Martyn really has. Full of confidence and applause, John's guitar exploited every nook and cranny on 'Solid Air' and 'Go Down Easy', whilst all the time Danny Thompson was attacking the bass with great ferocity and skill, stealing a deserved portion of the limelight. The echo chamber was again in use for these numbers giving the effect of an additional four guitarists.

Having completed one and a half hours of solid playing John leapt from the stage and disappeared from sight to the anguished cries of 'MORE'. To the great relief of the majority an announcement was then made explaining that Mr. Martyn was not being moody, but had simply gone for a whoopsy. I would think he needed one!

On his return an excited audience demanded 'Singing In The Rain' which was duly granted. This for me was second only to Gene Kelly's version and proves that John Martyn must be one of the most underrated performers in the business.

Frank Dixie

1 muffnote: Outside In.
2 muffnote: The Easy Blues.