The Tumbler - Island ILPS 9091

19 Oct 1968
Melody Maker
Tony Wilson

ONE of the best of the young singer/ songwriters to emerge on the British folk scene in the last year is John Martyn, a young Glaswegian. John has already made his album debut with London Conversation on the Island label. Now this company have released his second album The Tumbler. On the first album, the Jansch-Incredible String Band influences were noticeable but this album is very much more John's own work.

There is plenty of variety and among the outstanding tracks are the happy, evocative Sing A Song Of Summer, the sinister The Gardeners, which has a science fiction feel about it, a bluesy Goin' Down To Memphis, with some nice slide guitar work, A Day At The Sea, an instrumental track with some good Jansch-Renbourn school playing, another Martyn original Seven Black Roses, mainly guitar with John shifting his capo for key change effects, Jelly Roll Morton's Winding Boy, and Fishin' Blues, credited to John although very similar to a version recorded years ago by Henry 'Ragtime Texas' Thomas and more recently by Mike Seeger1 - T.W.

1 Wilson is right. Fishing Blues was written by Chris Smith in 1911. Texas blues guitar player Henry Thomas (1874–1930) recorded Fishing Blues in Chicago 13 June 1928, as flipside of Texas Worried Blues (Vocalion 1249). The song also resurfaced November 1965 on the Lovin' Spoonful debut album Do You Believe In Magic.
This review was printed in Melody Maker's Folk Forum of 19 October 1968, Folk Albums section, page 22. Some small spelling mistakes have been corrected.

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