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John Martyn - BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert CD (album) cover


John Martyn


Prog Folk

3.96 | 6 ratings

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4 stars This album is a live compilation so to say including a very early recording from 1971 besides two from 1977. The majority of the tracks are from 1986 though where John Martyn played at the Glastonbury Festival with his band. The concert has been a revelation really, especially because he uses his guitar with many effects here. This is John Martyn which I really like - mixing up jazzy and psych/space ingredients to a very impressing cocktail - obviously differing to his standard blues and folk oriented studio output.

The album opens with the aforementioned early song Head And Heart lifted from a solo acoustic performance in December 1971. This one is taken from the studio album 'Bless The Weather' released the same year. A fine ballad which is soon followed by the traditional Spencer The Rover from 1977. Both tunes are proving his fantastic folk singer/songwriter qualities. Martyn's voice is charming by the way and sounds less smoky. And then we have to go nine years forward to Glastonbury where he plays with a real band, now featuring the cheerful Foster Paterson (keyboards) and Danny Thompson (bass).

Mad Dog Days immediately transfers you to another, differing dimension. The sound quality is excellent, crystal clear. Here we have a collective of musicians which is perfectly interacting on top of it. Martyn plays a spacey delay modified guitar where Colin Tully (saxophone) and the other band members are offering a mellow jazzy respectively fusion mood. Now we are coming to a song couple - frequently offered live in this combination and belonging to my alltime live band favourites. Dealer is starting groovy rocking - Paterson shines with playful synthesizer adds. And then they celebrate a fantastic spacey floating transition into Outside In with John Martyn's emotional vocal contributions. Ten mesmerizing cosmic minutes which upset me really!

From the following Big Muff to Johnny Too Bad the band is acting top-notch furthermore continuing with this special mix of fusion and psych - Danny Thompson playing a funky bass. Since 1986 drummer Arran Ahmun was a longtime compagnion until John Martyn sadly passed away in January 2009. Which means - he is relatively new in the band at that time but plays absolutely reliable and subtle. The hymn Over The Rainbow is presented very emotional - when you're in the right mood it probably will bring tears to your eyes.

The extended studio version of Outside In closes the album quasi like a bonus - probably John Martyn's finest spacey output ever - although he never was counted to this genre. He plays his instrument echoplex drenched and multilayered comparable to the Kosmische Musik dominating German guitarists Günther Schickert, Manuel Göttsching and Achim Reichel. And his vocal presence is nearly extraterrestial here.

Provided with superb audio quality and showing John Martyn's diverse facets this album is well worth buying. My favourite live collection which I actually know from him - except the private cassette recording though which I took from the radio when he had played in Cologne the same year. Unfortunately my equipment wasn't in best condition. I tried to get this from the radio station later but totally failed :-( ... okay - nevermind - 'BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert' is great too - 4.5 stars are well deserved.

Rivertree | 4/5 |


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