Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Magna Carta

Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Magna Carta Martin's Cafe album cover
1.55 | 12 ratings | 5 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Easy If You Try (3:14)
2. Tomorrow's Up for Sale (3:00)
3. Mixed Up Sensations (3:28)
4. Old Man (2:16)
5. All Part of the Game (3:15)
6. Roll On (3:11)
7. You Are Only What You Are (3:45)
8. People's Friend (4:11)
9. Won't Set the World on Fire (3:35)
10. I'm Gonna Take You Down (3:23)
11. Martin's Cafe (3:12)

Total Time: 36:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Glen Stuart / vocals
- Chris Simpson / vocals, electric & acoustic guitars (Spanish & steel), percussion
- Graham Smith / vocals, jew's harp, bass (6,8)

- B. J. Cole / pedal steel guitar
- Davy Johnstone / guitar (7)
- John Mealing / piano & electric piano & string arrangement (3)
- Dave Marquee / bass
- Dave Mattacks / drums
- Tony Carr / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Jan H. van Uden

LP Vertigo ‎- 6360 146 (1977, Netherlands)

CD Mercury Records Ltd. ‎- 538 813-2 (1999, Europe) Combined with "Lord Of The Ages" on 1 disc

Thanks to tuxon for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy MAGNA CARTA Martin's Cafe Music

More places to buy MAGNA CARTA music online

MAGNA CARTA Martin's Cafe ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(8%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (33%)
Poor. Only for completionists (33%)

MAGNA CARTA Martin's Cafe reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars A bit of a burger

"Martin's Café" was recorded by Magna Carta in 1974, a year after their fine "Lord of the ages" album. Due a serious dispute between the band's management and their record company however, it was not released until 1977. There is significant uncertainty about who played on the album, de facto leader Chris Simpson apparently preferring not to recall the actual line up. We can safely assume that along with Chris, Glen Stuart was still on board. Stan Gordon is likely to have left and, since the album was recorded after "Lord of the ages", it is unlikely that Davey Johnstone appears.

The music is a rather eclectic mix of the soft folk influenced material the band had perfected on previous albums, together with some more upbeat but misguided rock numbers. "Roll on" and "Easy if you try" fall into the latter category, and sadly drag the album down significantly. The nadir is the poor "I'm gonna take you down", a wholly uninspired piece of pop rock. As a whole, the album has much more in common with "Songs from Wasties orchard" than the band's classic albums "Seasons" and "Lord of the ages". Even "Wasties" though was a good listen, if a little too safe. Here, while there are some songs which sit well beside the band's short melodic compositions of the past, there are simply too many nondescript pop rock based numbers to make this anything other than a disappointment.

The partial move towards a rock orientation pulled the band apart, with Stuart leaving soon after the album was completed, the band effectively becoming Chris Simpson alone.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I was surprised to read from a fellow reviewer that this album had been made in 1974 but delayed because of various disputes. The reason I say that is that the music had declined still further from their 1976 release 'Took A Long Time'. Musically the direction on this release is pretty aimless, forgettable tracks are too numerous to mention and there are probably two or 3 tracks worth a mention ' Easy If You Try', a catchy opener and ' Mixed Up Sensations'. Magna Carta's biggest flaw was lack of consistency but without the ever present Chris Simpson, this group would have disappeared a long time ago. There was better yet to come again fortunately. For completionists only.
Review by kenethlevine
2 stars When listening to MAGNA CARTA in general, I don't feel in the presence of some great well of emotion, but "Martin's Cafe" is a dispirited affair even by those standards, a weak agglomeration of light country pop that is miles away from the relative sophistication of "Lord of the Ages".

Apart from two outstanding tracks, "Tomorrow's Up for Sale", with its biting and timeless social commentary, and the surprisingly edgy acoustic blues of "I'm gonna take you down", everything here is virtually interchangeable and unappealing.

The mid 1970s were rife with this type of low rent sub FM tripe, but Martin's cafe's bill of fare brings new meaning to the concept of stodgy and bland British cuisine.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars Won't set the world on fire!

I own this largely forgettable album as part of a 2 CD collection called Ages And Seasons that also includes the albums Seasons, Songs From Wasties Orchard and Lord Of The Ages in their entirety. While these other three albums range from decent (Songs From Wasties Orchard) to good (Seasons, Lord Of The Ages), Martin's Café is a disappointment. We have here a collection of nondescript, short songs; acoustic Folk ballads, Folk Pop and a few Country and Rock 'N' Roll numbers. Whatever progressive touches that could be found on the group's previous albums, those influences had wholly evaporated by this point.

Martin's Café contains 11 tracks, all of which are between two and four minutes in length and wholly based on conventional song structures and predictable instrumentation (mostly acoustic guitar, drums and vocals with minimal use of electric guitar, piano and harmonica). It is listenable, but pretty dull. The melodies are not very memorable and I doubt I will even listen to this album again. Life is too short for that and there is so much good music! Still, this lacklustre album does not take away much from the value of the Ages And Seasons double disc set which contains at least two good albums. If you buy that collection, then Martin's Café is probably worth a listen. But do not, I repeat, do not, search out this album strictly on its own merits unless you are an utter Magna Carta fanatic (and I doubt such people exist!).

In its own right, this album is for completionists only.

Latest members reviews

1 stars This is a pretty dreadful way of ending a day, listening to and reviewing one of Magna Carta's weakest albums. If not their weakest album. The music here is pretty aimless country pop. Most of the songs seems to be made for the commercial pub-gigs market. Magna Carta's normally strongest car ... (read more)

Report this review (#286231) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, June 12, 2010 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of MAGNA CARTA "Martin's Cafe"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.