Martyn, John - Live At Bristol - Official Bootleg

Year of Release: 1998
Label: One World Records/Voiceprint
Catalog Number: OW1006CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 66:04:00

Starting out as "one man and his guitar" towards the end of the sixties, the entire impressive catalogue of John Martyn is one big autobiography. "Some people write diaries, I write songs," he says. Born and bread in Glasgow, Scotland, John starts off in the folk circuit but soon starts to experiment with eastern influences and jazz. Two albums are produced with his first wife Beverley but soon Martyn is attracted to the wonderful bass playing of Danny Thompson, who later on will also play a prominent role on David Sylvian's Brilliant Trees album. John Martyn also was a very close friend of the late Nick Drake about whom he wrote "Solid Air" and after several family problems, John finds himself in Jamaica where he also writes together with weirdo Lee "Scratch" Perry. In the early eighties Martyn kind of re-invents himself not in the least because of the friendship with label mate Phil Collins who sort of puts new fuel in the Martyn engine.

John Martyn has been a very big influence on bands such as Everything But The Girl and Cocteau Twins with people such as Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Taj Mahal, America, Ralph McTell, Richie Havens, Bellamy Brothers as well as Wet Wet Wet and (the jazz influence you know) Spyro Gyra covering his songs! Released in a limited, numbered run of 5000 copies, Live At Bristol illustrates a rainy night in Bristol where the dark clouds suddenly vanished into thin air by means of Martyn's unique music. By including saxophone player Andy Sheppard in the line-up the 9 songs on this disc are extra jazzy in flavour, played in a captivating way. Blurring the lines between folk, rock, jazz and blues, Martyn has so much expression in his voice it reminds you of Van Morrison, especially in the ballads.

Personally I'm enormously enthusiastic about his ballads and a bit less for his uptempo work. Especially during live performances Martyn finds it difficult to stop once his diesel engine is up and running and that's where, for me, it gets a bit too much. That's why on this disc I simply melt for the charm of "Couldn't Love You More" and the way the electric piano, sax, strings and voice blend together to create one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Here, Martyn precedes the actual song with a little story about pigeons, after calling his backing band his "pigeons" whom he finds are "nice little creatures." Contrary to the uptempo songs, this one, to me, could go on and on and on. The same can be said for "Sweet Little Mystery" which has Martyn add some extra flanger and reverb to his guitar playing whilst once again distant strings, subtle electric piano and sparse saxophone put the bubbles in this five star champagne!

John Martyn is at his absolute best during the "audio love making" which he masters so damn well. Just listen to "Let Me Love You Tonight" where his low, hoarse voice contrast perfectly with the clear arrangement letting you hear piano and saxophone as tiny rays of sunshine which peak through a pitchblack cloud. Bless the weather, indeed! The more powerful renditions of "Big Muff", "John Wayne" and "Johnny Too Bad" are not my absolute favourites, yet these songs have stood the test of time in order to attract a wide audience that appreciates both the intense and the calm nature of Martyn's compositions. All depends on the mood our hero is in and the line-up he has amassed around him, but even strippped to the bare arrangement of "one man and his guitar" this man still has the genius to keep you interested throughout.

Big Muff / Couldn't Love You More / Deny This Love / Sweet Little Mystery / Looking On / John Wayne / Johnny Too Bad / Cooltide / Let Me Love You Tonight

John Martyn - vocals, guitar
Alan Thompson - bass
John Henderson - drums
Andy Sheppard - sax
Spencer Coazens - keyboards

London Conversation (1968)
The Tumbler (1968)
Stormbringer (1970)
The Road To Ruin (1970)
Bless The Weather (1971)
Solid Air (1973)
Inside Out (1973)
Sunday's Child (1975)
Live At Leeds (1975)
So Far So Good (1977)
One World (1977)
Grace & Danger (1980)
Glorious Fool (1981)
Well Kept Secret (1982)
Electric John Martyn (1982)
Philenthropy (1983)
Sapphire (1984)
Piece By Piece (1984)
Foundations (1987)
The Apprentice (1990)
Cooltide (1991)
BBC In Concert (1992)
Couldn't Love You More (1992)
No Little Boy (1993)
Sweet Little Mysteries (1994)
Live At The Shaw Theatre (1995)
And (1996)
Hidden Years (1996)
Very Best Of (1997)
Rest Of The Best (1998)
The Church With One Bell (1998)
Live At Bristol - Official Bootleg (1998)
Serendipity (1998)
Another World (1999)
Classics (2000)
Glasgow Walker (2000)
Live '91 (2000)
The New York Session (2000)
Patterns In The Rain (2001)
Live In Germany '86 (2001)
Kendall 1986 (2001)
Live At The Town And Country Club 1986 (2001)
Sweet Certain Surprise (2001)
Live At The Bottom Line 1983 (2001)
Live In Milan 1979 (2002)
Solid Air - Classics Revisited (2002)
And Live (2003)
Live At The Cambridge Folk Festival 1985 (2003)
On The Cobbles (2004)
Late Night John (2004)
Mad Dog Days (2004)
Live In Nottingham 1976 (2005)
Live At Leeds And More (2006)
On Air (2006)
The John Martyn Story (2006)
In Session (2006)
Sixty Minutes With?John Martyn (2006)
Live At The Roundhouse (2007)
BBC Live In Concert (2007)
The Battle Of Medway (2007)

John Martyn In Vision 1973-81 (VID oop) (1982)
Live From London (VID/DVD) (2000/2001)
Purely Music (LSR oop) (1986?)
Foundations Live At The Town And Country Club (VID oop) (1988)
The Apprentice Tour (VID/DVD oop) (1990)
Tell Them I'm Somebody Else (VID oop/DVD) (2000/2005?)
Live In Dublin (DVD) (2005)
John Martyn At The BBC (DVD) (2006)
Empty Ceiling (DVD) (2006)
Live At The Roundhouse (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Rock

Origin UK

Added: March 21st 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1624
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]