Sunday, October 03, 2010

John Martyn: Solid Air

The posting below was written before I realised I would not be able to embed Martyn's 1987 live performance of this song in Dublin. So I suggest you watch that one rather than listen to the version here..

In Electric Eden Rob Young writes:
Watching footage of Martyn playing live can be an unsettling experience. After a tortured, deeply emotive passage or song rendition, Martyn instantly snaps out of character, undercutting the intensity of the moment with a cheery "Awright!", the "Eyethangyew!" of a pompous music-hall entertainer or a crude joke.
That tendency is well displayed in this tribute to Martyn's friend Nick Drake.

Young's account of Drake is also valuable and suggests that heroin addiction had more to do with his problems than any I have previously read.

As the estimable Backwatersman and I agreed at the cricket a few weeks ago, it is remarkable that Drake's music is now omnipresent. Once celebrated for his obscurity, he now features on every television trailer.

Note too the presence of Danny Thompson here. He is another key figure in British music since the 1960s.


burkesworks said...

Hooray for John Martyn. I can always count on you to come up with the goods every Sunday.

Would that JM was as much a beloved figure as Nick Drake among young indie types these days. I do once remember seeing him (and of course the great Danny Thompson) being supported by Factory Records stalwarts the Durutti Column at the old Limit Club in Sheffield many moons ago, but that's about as close as he ever got to flirting with hipsterdom.

Regarding these folky British singer/songwriter types, I still await the critical re-appraisals of Clifford T. Ward and Lesley Duncan.

William Leitch said...

Hi, enjoyed reading this after finding searching John Martyn articles.

The contrast between his personality and music is really interesting, I can't think of it being so clear with any other artist...he'd knock you sideways then put up the barriers, with his rough banter.

Cheers. Will

Anonymous said...

Pleased to say this is played on Chill all the time...