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John Martyn - Solid Air CD (album) cover

SOLID AIR

John Martyn

 

Prog Folk

4.01 | 61 ratings

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RussellChap
4 stars One of the albums I own that keeps drawing me back is John Martyn's 1973 album Solid Air. This magnificent record is suffused with irradiated liquid folk but also holds hidden, dark undercurrents within. The pleasure this album gives never evaporates even after repeated listening, which have been many as I bought it in 1991, in the days before mp3 and downloads when you had to visit a record shop (yes really).

Throughout John Martyn sings with a lazy warmth sometimes loving, other times carnal, there are moments when his voice oozes as if it's melting, the words becoming onomatopoeic. His guitar, fed through his echoplex (a tape delay device which allowed him to sustain notes), is similarity fluid, all heat haze scintillation and smoky scrolls. Particularly on the Skip James song 'I'd rather Be The Devil' which has the same vibe as Jimi Hendrix's aqueous '1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)'. He is ably supported by the great Danny Thompson on bass, providing a supple backbone, who was a great friend of john Martyn playing on many of his albums as well as being a stalwart member of folk rockers Pentangle.

Although released in the seventies tracks like 'Dreams By The Sea' (which is full paranoia and suspicion "Dreaming you've got a lover/Dreaming that there's a killer in your eyes"), the aforementioned 'I'd rather Be The Devil' and title track 'Solid Air' (about the late Nick Drake "I know you/I love you and I can be your friend/I can follow you anywhere even through solid air"), have a timeless and place-less quality. Maybe that's why I never get tired of Solid Air. It keeps returning like waves lapping a shore.

RussellChap | 4/5 |

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