6. Eibhli Ghail Chiuin Ni Chearbhail (Traditional arranged by J. Martyn)
‘Bob Harris’ - Recorded 10.10.73. Transmitted 15.10.73.
7. One Day (Without You) (J. Martyn)
8. Discover The Lover (J. Martyn)
9. My Baby Girl (J. Martyn)
10. The Message (J. Martyn)
11. Spencer The Rover (J. Martyn)
‘John Peel’ - Recorded 7.1.75. Transmitted 13.1.75.
12. May You Never (J. Martyn)
13. Certain Surprise/Couldn’t Love You More (J. Martyn)
14. Over The Hill (J. Martyn)
15. One Day (Without You) (J. Martyn)
‘John Peel’ - Recorded 18.1.77. Transmitted 4.2.77.
16. Small Hours (J. Martyn)
‘John Peel’ - Recorded 9.1.78. Transmitted 16.1.78.
John Martyn (born Iain David McGeachy on September 11, 1948 in New Malden, Surrey, England) is a British singer-songwriter and guitarist.
Martyn's parents divorced when he was five and he spent his childhood alternating between England and Scotland.
His professional musical career began when he was 17; a blend of blues and folk resulting in a unique style that made him a key figure in the London folk scene during the mid-1960s. He signed to Chris Blackwell's Island Records in 1967 and released his first album, London Conversation, the following year.
This first album was soon followed by The Tumbler, which was moving towards jazz. By 1970 Martyn had developed a wholly original and idiosyncratic sound: acoustic guitar run through a fuzzbox, phase-shifter, and Echoplex. This sound was first apparent on Stormbringer in 1970, which featured Martyn's then wife, Beverley Kutner, as his collaborator. She also appeared on The Road to Ruin in 1970.
In 1973, Martyn released one of the defining British albums of the 1970s, Solid Air, the title song a tribute to the singer-songwriter Nick Drake, a close friend and label-mate, who in 1974 died suddenly from an overdose of antidepressants. On this album, as with the one that preceded it, Bless the Weather, Martyn collaborated with jazz bass player, Danny Thompson, with whom he proceeded to have a fruitful musical partnership which continues to this day. He also developed a new, slurred vocal style, the timbre of which resembled a tenor saxophone.
Following the commercial success of Solid Air, Martyn quickly recorded and released the experimental Inside Out, a more difficult album with emphasis placed on feel and improvisation rather than song structure. In 1975, he followed this with Sunday's Child. In September of that year he released a live album, Live at Leeds - Martyn had been unable to convince Island to release the record, and Martyn resorted to selling individually signed copies by mail from his home. Live at Leeds features Danny Thompson and drummer John Stevens, and is notable not only for the performances given, but the recording quality and incredibly quiet audience for a live recording. After releasing Live at Leeds, Martyn took a sabbatical, including a visit to Jamaica, spending time with famous reggae producer Lee 'Scratch' Perry.
In 1977, he released One World, which led some commentators to describe Martyn as the 'Father of Trip-Hop'. It included tracks such as 'Small Hours' and Big Muff, a collaboration with Lee 'Scratch' Perry. One World is notable for having been recorded outside, the album's lush soundscapes partly the result of microphones picking up ambient sounds, such as water from a nearby lake.
Grace and Danger, released in 1980, reflected the hurt and melancholy at his breakup with wife Beverly. Phil Collins played drums and sang backing vocals as well on this album, which was produced by Martin Levan. Collins also produced Martyn's next album, Glorious Fool (1981).
Martyn left Island records in 1988, and since then his recording output has been characterised more by re-recordings and re-releases of classic tracks through several labels than by original material.
In 2001 Martyn appeared on the track Deliver Me by Faithless keyboard player and DJ Sister Bliss.
His steady output has gained him considerable recognition as a performer and a songwriter.
Currently residing in Ireland, Martyn is still touring and brings his inimitable blend of folk-blues-reggae-ambient-rock music together with his typically Glaswegian sense of humour wherever he plays. Over the years he has performed with a variety of musicians, including Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Phil Collins, Paul Kossoff, Richard Thompson and Steve Winwood among many others.
In July 2006 an intimate documentary 'Johnny Too Bad' was screened on BBC 4 and follows John during the period surrounding the operation that led to the removal of his right leg below the knee of a result of a burst cyst as he wrote and recorded On the Cobbles (2003)
John continues to write and collaborate with various artists and has recently completed recording a ballad 'Really Gone' with UltanJohn which was released in November '06
I purchased this album to maintain my collection of Martyn's output. Already he must be approaching the numbers of albums of Marc Bolan/T. Rex and Jimi Hendrix before venturing beyond the stratosphere into Grateful Dead territory.
I say that not as a criticism but as a compliment. Indeed John Martyn is very much like the Dead in his ability to provide us with variations on his material which add so much to the original compositions.
As to this album, I love each of the songs and arrangements on it and cherish their being made available at long last from the BBC archives. It is only a pity that John Peel could not be around to see these hit the light of day.
Each track on it's own is a testament to the talents of John Martyn as singer, songwriter and musician. Unfortunately, my only criticism of the album is that the order could have had a greater coherence and some attempt made to place the songs into a sequence of development. To me it makes no sense to begin the album with electric Martyn and to be followed a few songs later by the acoustic almost folkie Martyn.
That is the only flaw on an album which will be purchased mainly by completists which is a great shame.
John Martyn is a musician's musician and who'se influence extends far into many areas of the popular idiom. It is always a pleasure to hear him perform his work.