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John Martyn

Prog Folk

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John Martyn One World album cover
3.63 | 34 ratings | 4 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dealer (4:55)
2. One World (4:03)
3. Smiling Stranger (3:26)
4. Big Muff (6:25)
5. Couldn't Love You More (3:00)
6. Certain Surprise (3:48)
7. Dancing (3:41)
8. Small Hours (8:40)

Total time 37:58

Bonus CD from 2004 remaster:
- Live At Regents Park, Summer 1978 :
1. Certain Surprise (3:06)
2. Couldn't Love You More (3:05)
3. One World (5:20)
4. Dealer (6:11)
5. Small Hours (7:18)
- Studio Out Takes :
6. Black Man At The Shoulder (5:52)
7. Dealer - 1st Alternate Take (4:30)
8. One World (Alternate Version) (4:05)
9. Smiling Stranger - Instrumental (4:41)
10. Big Muff (Alternate Version With Drums) (6:45)
11. Certain Surprise - Alternate Version (4:46)
12. Dancing (Alternate Version) (3:43)
13. Big Muff (Drum Machine Version) (4:51)
14. Dealer (Second Alternate Version) (4:54)
15. Small Hours - Instrumental Version (10:19)

Total time 79:26

Line-up / Musicians

- John Martyn (Iain David McGeachy) / vocals, guitar, drum machine (2,8)

- Steve Winwood / electric piano (2,6), Yamaha organ (5,8), Moog (1,3,8), bass (1)
- George Lee / sax (3)
- Rico Rodriguez / trombone (6)
- John Field / flute (2)
- Hansford Rowe / bass (2,4)
- Neil Murray / bass (3)
- Danny Thompson / bass (5,6)
- Dave Pegg / bass (7)
- Andy Newmark / drums (1)
- John Stevens / drums (3,4)
- Bruce Rowland / drums (6,7)
- Keshav Sathe / tabla (3)
- Morris Pert / percussion (4,8)
- Harry Robinson / string arranger (3,6)

Releases information

Artwork: Tony Wright

LP Island Records ‎- ILPS9492 (1977, UK)
LP Island Records ‎- 478 527-9 (2016, Europe) Remastered by Greg Moore

CD Island Records ‎- CID 9492 (1990, UK)
CD Island Records ‎- 981 922-2 (2004, UK) Remastered by Paschal Byrne with bonus CD including Live recordings (previously unreleased) and outtakes

Thanks to Adams Bolero for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JOHN MARTYN One World ratings distribution

(34 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (47%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JOHN MARTYN One World reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars After almost three years since his last studio deceiving album Sunday's Child, most of Martyn's fans were expecting pmich of the coming One World. To say the least, the album did not get unanimous acceptance by the fans: those expecting another Solid air were definitely disappointed, however those wanting more accessible tunes were very happy. Indeed Martyn wrote maybe his poppiest album of the 70's, whether Stevie Winwood's presence over most of the tracks, and the gradual disappearance of Danny Thompson (less than half the tracks), but one feels an era has passed, and it won't come back. Winwood himself was in a transitional phase of his cerreer and released his first (excellent) solo album the same year, but it would be another 5 year until the hugely successful (sales-wise anyway) Arc Of A Diver

Don't get fooled by the opening track Dealer, it's not the Traffic track, but a Martyn original that IMHO does make hint at the 68 song. but it's relatively funky and upbeat, a perfect way to start an album, even if the track is only average at best. Much more interesting is the slow title track, where Martyn's echoplex effect pedals are used to great effects under Handsford Rowe's (future Gongzilla) superb round bass. Another winner is Smiling Stranger with Winwood's Arabic strings synths in the background, but again Solid Air is ac distant memory. The didgeridoo-lead Big Muff track features Brand X's Morris Pert on percussions, but the track is not only repetitive, but overstays its welcome by a good three minutes. Not sure if the co-author Lee Perry uses the "Scratch" epithet, but like many tunes f this album, the track is on the limit between funk and reggae.

The flipside sees the return of Danny Thompson on bass, and directly with a bow on the contrabass, Couldn't Love You More is a return to Bless the Weather, but the following Captain Surprise sticks out like a sore thumb, especially the cheesy trad jazz sax solo. You might gas well ship the next Dancing track, to get faster to the album's best piece, the almost 9-mins, the sleep inducing (and aptly titled) Small Hours.

Actually, although this album is often fondly remembered, I personally think that it is of the same accabit as Sunday's Child, possibly even worse of the 70's. The strory doesn't tell you whether Martyn himself was pleased with the album, but it certainly did not prompt him back soon in the studio as the the next (and much betterą Grace And Danger wouldn't huit the shops until three years later. As for this one, it certainly is NOT a priority

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One World was a lucky discovery for me at an open air market in the city of Norwich in 1980. In one fell swoop I was introduced to the deeply moving, introspective work of this bluesy folk artist as both Solid Air and One World played over a cheap sound system while I perused the bins of albums and tapes. I bought both. Though One World's "Couldn't Love You More" (3:09) (9/10) was remade in 1981 for the Phil Collins-produced Glorious Fool under the production guidance and instrumental ensemble assistance of one Eric Clapton (featuring Max Middleton, Alan Thompson and drummer Phil Collins in support), the original version remains a favorite of mine. For me the stunning and haunting "Small Hours" (8:44) (10/10) remains the centerpiece and jewel of the album though it is the last song on Side Two. The Echoplex guitar sound--which Martyn hung on to as a signature sound for most of his career--is used to absolute perfection here, with the sound of boats and wooden docks creaking in the water, as if the song was recorded outside.

Other outstanding favorites include: "Dealer" (4:58) (9/10); "One World" (4:10) (9/10); "Big Muff" (6:30) (8/10); the lovely STEPHEN BISHOP-like "Certain Surprise" (3:52) (10/10), and; the delightfully playful "Dancing" (3:43) (9/10).

A minor masterpiece of progressive folk music.

Review by Warthur
3 stars This is an odd little album that finds John Martyn teaming up with Steve Winwood, whose organ playing adds jazzy, funky accents to Martyn's already typically laid-back sound. The end result is a weirdly sunny-sounding album which sort of resembles a folk rock artist's attempt to figure out what reggae sounded like based only on some rather vague descriptions. A strange mix, yes, but somehow an intoxicatingly catchy one, making this stylistic experiment a reasonable success, if weighed down by a somewhat plastic-ish production. Despite the fact that it its further outside the usual folk rock sphere than either Bless the Weather or Solid Air, somehow this manages to be the most accessible of Martyn's 1970s works.

Latest members reviews

3 stars One World is one of John Martyn's more experimental works. All the albums of his that I've heard have laid-back moods, but possess their own characters. This is quite atmospheric, and the way that Martyn blended his signature rhythmic, echoey guitar sounds with jazzy drumming, funky bass and s ... (read more)

Report this review (#622312) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Sunday, January 29, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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