Bless The Weather

Bless The Weather.

Both as a songwriter and performer John Martyn concentrates on exploring well-defined areas of mood and tone. His songs, lyrically and melodically, are introspective and he is a fine enough musician to translate this into subtle arrangements – or perhaps it would be a closer estimate of Martyn’s working methods to say improvisation. Even the rock formula of “Sugar Lump’ contributes to intensity without damaging the sensitive musical balance. Very similar tonal shades complement on another purely because Martyn and co-producer John Wood recognise their potential and don’t blot them out with some contrasting sound.

There are even times who these songs come within range of comparison with other singer /songwriters with their guitars and pianos lurking in the background. The difference is that Martyn never has to grope for a mood. There are no awkward spaces while piano augmentation is allowed to trample blindly over the continuity and effect of a song. Simply, it sounds as though he knows what he is doing and the result is accordingly precise. The Instrumental upset benefits from Martyn’s choice of musicians – Danny Thompson (string bass), Tony Reeves (electric bass), Roger Powell (drums), Ian Whiteman (keyboards),  Richard Thompson (electric guitar), Smiley De Jonnes and Beverley Martyn – although they are all strictly harnessed to a close knit pattern.

The songs, which are all John’s apart from ” Singing in The Rain” (Brown/Freed), are absorbingly attractive, their impact increased by the clarity of the recording and intricate backing. ln the past his lyrics have sometimes been monotonous, but on this album he has countered that without splitting from complete simplicity (or simple completeness). His “Walk To The Water” communicates so much with simple words. My one disappointment is that John hasn’t recorded more of the reverb guitar instrumentalism as it offers a potential which is way outside common reference points.

Andrew Means
Melody Maker
4 December 1971