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John Martyn - John & Beverley Martyn: The Road to Ruin CD (album) cover


John Martyn


Prog Folk

3.31 | 18 ratings

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4 stars This second LP credited to John & Beverley Martyn, "The Road To Ruin" from late 1970, is an intimate experience full of warm, inviting songs that are quite welcome on a cool night when you're in front of the fireplace with a smoke or drink, or both. Simple yet lush, the songs have sparse arrangements and chord progressions that give the songs plenty of space, yet there is such a wonderful tapestry of textures of acoustic instruments. Saxes, flutes, pianos, congas, acoustic guitars all taking their right place in the mix and the very natural vocal treatments combine to accentuate this. It never feels too complicated and that is welcomed.

"New Day" is a high point on side one, with lilting melodies and joyfully strolling guitar. The vocals, as a duo, work well on this track and it lulls one into a quite nice trance with excellent flute work meandering through. The new day is indeed a sunny one--or so we hope. The line "Give us all some time to think, Please let us all come down" is in my mind, and I do believe that's one reason why I love this LP as it does let me calm down and think clearly for a little while.

Side two is more uneven in general, but "Tree Green" is a brilliant tune and one could truly call it beautiful--in the vocal delivery and instrumentation, and also in concept. There is a looking forward attitude present in this record--a contemplation on happiness and what that means, and thoughts regarding our future as humans. As the final track "Road to Ruin" extends into it's album-closing jam, we're left contemplating our role amongst nature and the rhythms of the earth with an air of optimism suitable to a record released in the year of the inaugural Earth Day. "How do you make a day like that? How do you make it real?" indeed.

SpecialKindOfHell | 4/5 |


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