North London Polytechnic

OUT OF such tragedies are triumphs made. Just as support act Hedgehog Pie were finishing their set, Danny Thompson opened his instrument case to find hls bass had a broken neck, with the result that the punters at Friday’s North London Poly concert had to wait rather li long time for John Martyn and Danny to appear while a replacement was found.

Their patience was well rewarded, though, for even If the late start meant that they were robbed of a well-deserved encore, they heard a programme of music that had about it the unfailing touch of genius.

Whether ‘It was the Echo-pieced atmosphere of ” Inside Out,” or the reflectiveness of the traditional “Spencer The Rover,” sung is no traddie would do It but still yielding a new Inspiration to an old song (which originates but a few , miles from John’s home town of Hastings)¬†everything they played was a joy to hear.

Martyn was not helped by a PA which reproduced his guitar perfectly but reduced his voice to blur, meaning that his verbal larks with Denny didn’t penetrate far past the first few rows. The same PA, incidentally, made Hedgehog’s set well-nigh unlistenable, which was a pity, since they seemed to be having a good time. I’d Iike to question the validity of some of their arrangements of traditional material; for Instance, their insensitive petering of “The Burning Of Auchendoun.”

But I will wait until I can hear it decently before pronouncing a proper Judgement.

Karl Dallas
Melody Maker
15 November 1975

North London Polytechnic
7 November 1975