John Martyn: May You Never, The Very Best of John Martyn (Universal)

 |   |  <1 min read

hn Martyn: Small Hours
John Martyn: May You Never, The Very Best of John Martyn (Universal)

Sadly you suspect this compilation would not have appeared if John Martyn hadn't died in January 2009. The great British singer-songwriter had a troubled life but along the way created some exceptional music.

His finest record -- and an Essential Elsewhere album -- Solid Air of '73 has been simultaneously reissued in a Deluxe Edition, and last year his dark, post-separation album Grace and Danger ('80) got similiar and much deserved attention.

As cornerstones to Martyn's long career they deserve to be heard in their entirety. But if you come to this man, born Iain David McGeachy, with little prior knowledge, this 15 track compilation drawing from his finest decade (the Seventies, with a '96 Talvin Singh remix of Sunshine's Better and Martyn's '87 version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow added) is fair enough.

An expressive singer and a gifted guitarist who experimented with echoplex effects (heard here on the gorgeously ambient, eight minute Small Hours), Martyn quickly went beyond his folkie origins and seduced the ears of Eric Clapton (who covered the title track here giving Martyn some ready cash) and those on the cusp of jazz.

Martyn was a troubled (and to his long-suffering friends, sometimes a troubling) genius. But he was a genius. The evidence is hinted at here -- and is persuasive on Solid Air. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

The Black Dahlias: Ladies and Gentlemen (Cruel)

The Black Dahlias: Ladies and Gentlemen (Cruel)

With a pure blast of angry guitars, a disciplined rhythm section, throat shredding vocals and a terrific sense of pop smarts driving their metal-edged rock'n'roll this New Zealand industrial... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate: Ali and Toumani (World Circuit)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate: Ali and Toumani (World Circuit)

When the great guitarist Ali Farka Toure from Mali died in late 2005 he left an exceptional legacy of wonderful albums, not the least being the exceptional In the Heart of the Moon with kora player... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE COMMITTEE, a film by PETER SYKES, 1968 (DV1/Southbound DVD)

THE COMMITTEE, a film by PETER SYKES, 1968 (DV1/Southbound DVD)

This strange, disturbing and largely unseen until now British film defined "cult movie" for many decades. With Manfred Mann lead singer Paul Jones as the central character, incidental... > Read more

THE STORY OF EDVARD MUNCH  by KETIL BJORNSTAD: Death at his shoulder

THE STORY OF EDVARD MUNCH by KETIL BJORNSTAD: Death at his shoulder

If we believe that, as is commonly said, great art is born of great suffering then Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944) was born to make great art. He certainly exceeded his quota of... > Read more