john martyn

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JOHN MARTYN'S 1980 ALBUM GRACE AND DANGER: How can you mend a broken heart?

JOHN MARTYN'S 1980 ALBUM GRACE AND DANGER: How can you mend a broken heart?

Like his peer Richard Thompson, with whom he sometimes recorded, Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist Martyn came from a folk background in the mid 60s then incorporate rock gestures into his playing. Unlike Thompson however he also explored jazz deeply and so his guitar playing has a kind of free-ranging, adventurous sound that is...

Billy Bragg, Mr Love and Justice (Cooking Vinyl)

Billy Bragg, Mr Love and Justice (Cooking Vinyl)

This is the album that famously wasn't released in time for Bragg to promote at this year's Big Day Out appearances. Not that he seemed to mind (much), he noted that he was flown to the other side of the world, there was an all-day backstage bar, he got to hang out with great musicians, and he only had to play for about 30 minutes. "We...

Graham Coxon: The Spinning Top (Transgressive)

Graham Coxon: The Spinning Top (Transgressive)

Damon Albarn has had the more visible profile outside of Blur -- Gorillaz, his Mali Music album, The Good, The Bad and The Queen -- but for the band’s former guitarist Coxon (who left after Think Tank of 03) The Spinning Top is his seventh solo outing and extends his interest in Anglofolk of the Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson...

Jeremy Mason: Distorted Vision (self released)

Jeremy Mason: Distorted Vision (self released)

Expat Mason was bassist in the Kiwi punk band Kill the Fake Patient (2005-07) but clearly the Northern Hemisphere has blown a new wind through him: he's now an acoustic/alt.folk singer living in a one bedroom flat in Glasgow and this self-produced EP of songs written in Wellington and London (available here) is the first flickering of a new...

Chris Thompson: Chris Thompson (Sunbeam)

Chris Thompson: Chris Thompson (Sunbeam)

Although it is common enough to acclaim great New Zealand bands from the late Sixties/early Seventies -- especially those with an acid-rock tinge -- as never quite getting their due internationally (Human Instinct, Ticket, the Fourmyula etc), the story of folk singer Chris Thompson has rarely been told. I have just the one album by him --...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Chris Thompson

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson was one of the disappearing figures in the New Zealand folk scene who toured with Julie Felix, counted among his peers the likes of Bert Jansch and Davy Graham while he was in the UK, and recorded some fine albums which have disappeared into the ether. His has recently released a self-titled double CD of a lost album from the...

Trembling Bells: The Constant Pageant (Fuse/Border)

Trembling Bells: The Constant Pageant (Fuse/Border)

This Glasgow quartet fronted by the powerful folk-vocals of Lavinia Blackwall have previously delivered folkadelia but right from the ringing guitars of this, their third album, they have moved more firmly into the psychedelic rock area where Celtic hippies roam wind-swept moors and have anthemic Jefferson Airplane and Fairport Convention...

Fink: Biscuits for Breakfast (Ninjatune/Flavour)

Fink: Biscuits for Breakfast (Ninjatune/Flavour)

Pitched somewhere between the sound of Greg Johnson on downers and the acoustic charm of Jose Gonzalez (the guy who does the bouncing balls/Sony Bravia ad on television), the ill-named Fink delivers up quietly engrossing stories of love and loss, lousy jobs and emotional failure. That may sound bleak but over the course of this sensitive and...

Tunng: Comments of the Inner Chorus (EMI)

Tunng: Comments of the Inner Chorus (EMI)

What to make of this large and flexible UK group which sometimes sounds like the charming Penguin Cafe Orchestra, sometimes suggests the wonderfully groove-orientated Beta Band (sadly no more), sometimes comes off like introspective Anglo-folk from the late 60s, and at other times drops in loops and samples? Stylistically it's called...

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