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

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Sonic Youth: The Eternal (Matador)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Sonic Youth: The Eternal (Matador)

Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth recently noted that they were the Grateful Dead or Rolling Stones of their generation. He meant it seemed they had been around a very, very long time and were still out... > Read more

Warren Love Band: Warren Love Band (Elite)

Warren Love Band: Warren Love Band (Elite)

Former busker Love leaped straight into the foreground of New Zealand music on the strength of this impressive album released a year ago: it is drawn to your attention now because the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2016 (Cartell/Border)

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2016 (Cartell/Border)

For many decades the punchline was,"French pop" . . . because when it came to pop music it seemed the French -- stuck somewhere between cool chanson and fashion chic -- didn't quite... > Read more

ELMORE JAMES: Sliding with the king

ELMORE JAMES: Sliding with the king

It has been almost half a century since Elmore James bent over to pull up his socks before going out to play in an Chicago nightclub . . . and went face down on to the floor with his third and... > Read more