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John Martyn

Prog Folk

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John Martyn Sapphire album cover
2.88 | 13 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sapphire (4:42)
2. Over the Rainbow (3:21)
3. You Know (3:14)
4. Watching Her Eyes (3:15)
5. Fisherman's Dream (4:16)
6. Acid Rain (4:11)
7. Mad Dog Days (4:59)
8. Climb The Walls (4:14)
9. Coming In On Time (3:34)
10. Rope-Soul'd (4:46)

Total Time 38:72

Bonus CD from 2015 remaster:
- Andy Lyden mixes :
1. Sapphire
2. Over The Rainbow
3. You Know
4. Watching Her Eyes
5. Fisherman's Dream
6. Acid Rain
7. Mad Dog Days
8. Climb The Walls
9. Coming In On Time
10. Rope-Soul'd
11. Love In Your Life
12. Fisherman's Dream (Straight Choir Version)
- Live In Hamburg, Germany, 1986 :
13. Mad Dog Days
14. Fisherman's Dream
15. Over The Rainbow

Line-up / Musicians

- John Martyn (Iain David McGeachy) / vocals, guitars, Linn drum machine, producer

- Barry Reynolds / guitar
- Alan Thomson / bass guitar, keyboards, Linn drum machine
- Jack Waldman / keyboards
- James Prime / keyboards
- Robin Rankin / keyboards
- James Hooker / keyboards
- Colin Tully / saxophones
- Steven Stanley / Linn drum machine
- Andy Lyden / Linn drum machine
- Uzziah Thompson / percussion
- Morwenne Laidlaw / harmony vocals
- Terry Nelson / harmony vocals
- Lorna Brooks / harmony vocals
- Scottish National Choir / chorus vocals (discarded in the album's final mix) (bonus 12)
- Robert Palmer / production "assistance"

Releases information

Artwork: Cathie Felstead

LP Island Records ‎- ILPS 9779 (1984, UK)

CDr Universal Music Archive Collection ‎- 80100265 (2004, UK)
2xCD Island Records ‎- 417 040-3 (2015, UK) Remastered with a bonus CD

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

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (50%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JOHN MARTYN Sapphire reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by GruvanDahlman
3 stars I have a special love for John Martyn and his music. He was truly progressive in his genre, though shifting more towards contemporary, slick pop in the early 80's. His music had these jazzy overtones I find appealing. Though he did not always hit the mark, when he did it was magic. Pure magic.

Sapphire was released in the year of 1984. By this time Martyn's music was ever so electronic and synthezised that little remained of his folky past. That is in itself not necessarily a bad thing, just different. When he released "Grace and danger" in 1980 he was spot on and that album remains very dear to me. By 1984 the result was good but not great. Musically Martyn is as professional as ever but the material is not that amazing, though some very good.

The title track starts the album off very well, followed by what is actually a very good cover of "Over the rainbow". The best pieces are "Fisherman's dream" and the magnificent "Mad dog days". The latter is a favorite of mine for several reasons but mainly because it is a great song. "Acid rain" is a sort of ecology-themed track and one that is good aswell.

There are not any bad tracks on Sapphire, which in some ways makes it a really cohesive album. The standouts, though, are not that many in numbers. The album is, however, a charming oddity or testament to a musician's need and willingness to change and progress. By no means his best album it is a great piece of work, solid and well performed. I think it could be that the album has aged not that gracefully, as some albums do. Or maybe it's just that it is an okay album and that is good enough. I like it, anyway. Give it a go. It won't kill you.

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