The cuts on Glorious Fool can be easily divided into two categories: the ones that could be played quite comfortably on a soft-rock station like WIOF and the ones that couldn't be played much of anywhere, except on a college station with special programs for people on downers.
Additional scrutiny reveals that the latter category can be further subdivided into the songs that reveal hidden values after patient listening and the songs that are essentially worthless chanting.
We can be thankful that only three fall into that last category: Hearts And Keys, Don't You Go, and Please Fall In Love With Me, which drones on embarrassingly: "I want to fall in love with the world/ I want the world to fall in love" and so forth.
The soft-rock numbers are some of the most attractive entries to that genre this year. Couldn't Love You More is a gentle rhythm and blues' piece, augmented by a dulcet Eric Clapton solo. Hold On To My Heart is equally sweet, and Didn't Do That is a fast fusion piece with some blistering trumpet riffing by Dick Cuthell.
The prize of the field, though, is Perfect Hustler, a bouncy piece dominated by a rattle-trap Afro-Cuban percussion groove matched by Martyn's exquisite vocal phrasing and dynamics.
Some of the weird stuff, notably Never Say Never, has hidden merits which can be detected only if one grows accustomed to Martyn's shouted delivery and producer Phil Collins' macabre pounding drumbeats.
For the most of the album, the Scot's dusky, emotive voice and the strange cadences of his music are an unusual delight. Too bad about those long, droning numbers, though.
This review was published in the Hartfort Courant (Connecticut), Sunday 9 May 1982.