Foundations

Pop Album of the Week: John Martyn: Foundations.

In 20 years, the Scottish singer, composer and guitarist John Martyn has transformed himself from folk artist embroidering his own dark fables with flashy guitar breaks into a pop jazz singer who suggests a cross between Tom Waits and Michael McDonald. Mr. Martyn’s essential vocal quality is an air of almost primal desperation. His slurred delivery, at once doleful and aggressive, is bolstered on this live album by a wailing pop jazz sextet. The material ranges from a jazzy version of his signature song, May You Never, to more recent material like the howling ballad Mad Dog Days to a version of Over the Rainbow that makes you think of someone gazing drunkenly from the gutter up at the stars.

Stephen Holden
The New York Times
18 March 1988