WHOEVER WAS responsible for organising the Michael Chapman/ Dando Shaft/ John Martyn concert at Twickenham College of Technology last week, made a damn fine job of doing so. It was this, as much as the music, which created an atmosphere heavy with good vibrations.
After a late start John Martyn worked briskly through his repertoire, and even confessed later to playing the numbers faster than usual. Switching between two guitars he gave a tremendous performance which culminated in Road To Ruin; and here John showed what an innovator he is by rigging up a simple device -pick-up on the guitar, small amplifier and echo unit- and then playing a long, rambling improvisation, the effect of which was both stunning and hypnotising. It was sad that he only introduced this at the end of his act because I think most of the audience could happily have sat back to a whole set of this space music.
But it was Dando Shaft who really brought the audience to their feet with a set of good swing music (dare I say folk/rock), using the lead of Martin Jenkins' fiddle and mandolin to good effect. The recent acquisition of Polly Bolton, an enchanting singer, is just another reason why this six-piece group are soon to become very hot property indeed. For they are extremely entertaining and combine happy medleys of jigs and reels with their own material.
Last on was Michael Chapman, and his excellent bass player Rick Kemp, and although suffering from exhaustion, they produced a very good set.
But the problem here is that while numbers like Postcards Of Scarborough do come across as an instantly likeable song, things like Rabbit Hills are crying out for a heavier arrangement, and a full band is really necessary to exploit the beauty of such numbers.
- JERRY GILBERT
This review was published in Sounds of 20 March 1971. Photo provided by John Neil Munro