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John Martyn (1948 - )

Related: UK music - folk music


John Martyn (born September 11, 1948) is a singer-songwriter.

He was born Ian David McGeachy in New Malden, Surrey, England. His parents divorced when he was five; Martyn 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 1970s Stormbringer, which also had Martyn's wife, Beverley Kutner, as his collaborator. She also appeared on Road to Ruin.

In 1973, Martyn was to release one of the defining British albums of the 1970s, Solid Air, the title song a tribute to the singer-songwriter, Nick Drake, who in 1974 was to die suddenly following an overdose of antidepressants. On this album, as with the one which preceded it, Bless the Weather, Martyn collaborated with jazz bass player, Danny Thompson.

His steady output has gained him considerable recognition as a performer and a songwriter. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Martyn [Jul 2004]

Solid Air

  • John Martyn - Solid Air [Amazon.com]
    What a totally wonderful album!! It's one of those works that truly have something for everyone. A love of left-field jazz and blues led him to this scintillating formula that you can kick back and enjoy (repeatedly!) or pick through for cool, groovy samples. I had long heard of this album as a big influence on folks I really respect, but that still didn't prepare me for the bewitching effect of this magical effort. Why, pray tell, is this guy not world famous? Upon further investigation, I found that "Bless The Weather" and "Inside Out" are also incredible, especially the former. This is ideal for listening on a cool, breezy, sensuous evening, but the moments on it that challenge that idyllic scenario are the ones that will keep you coming back for more. Also highly recommended to Terry Callier fans. I wish some ad agency would put something from here in some commercial, and get him some deserved recognition while he's still around to enjoy it, unlike his late buddy Nick Drake. GET THIS ALBUM -- Greg C from NY for amazon.com [A friend of mine has been listening to this for quite some time, I discovered it through a Gilles Peterson turn of the millenium compilation]

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