Couldn’t Love You More (Remastered And Expanded)
Released in 1992 Couldn’t Love You More consisted of re-recorded versions of classic tracks with guest appearances including Phil Collins, David Gilmour and Gerry Conway. John and producer Jim Tullio were working on the No Little Boy album (One World Records OW128CD), in fact Couldn’t Love You More is the session tapes for No Little Boy. Permanent released the album without John’s knowledge and John was furious, “I had no idea they were going to release that. They had the tapes and I was in America and when I came back the next thing I knew it was out!” Clearly ignorant of the record company’s plans, “It’s John Martyn’s Greatest Hits, I suppose,” John had laughingly told Lahri Bond of Dirty Linen Magazine in 1992, “I’m recording them with different line-ups. Phil Collins will be on a couple of things, also Bonnie Raitt. We’re trying for an October release, maybe.”
I talked to Jim about the impact of having the session tapes released when they were still a ‘work in progress’, “We knew we were making a better record and we had no idea they were going to release Couldn’t Love You More. John refused to give Permanent Records his permission… he was furious that they released it, but such is life, some things are out of your control. He tried to let the public know in interviews and such that he did not sanction the release of Couldn’t Love You More, but I guess many people were unaware.”
There is no sign of the spontaneous John that has resulted in some of his best studio work. The album is saxophone rich and the backing vocals make the album super smooth – not the John Martyn sound that fans know and love. However not everyone agreed and the album won many admirers introducing a whole new generation to John’s classic 1970s songs. Review Magazine said, “Hopefully this will get a whole new audience to check out one of the most impressive back catalogues around; and for those who have most of that back catalogue, here’s an indispensable addition from a man who can do no wrong – trust him!” This re-release includes two bonus songs, Couldn’t Love You More and Never Let Me Go from One World Records limited edition release Live at Bristol 1991 (OW1OO6CD).
Sweet Little Mystery and Lonely Love were released as singles in September and December 1992, and the “real” album No Little Boy was released when John was happy with it in 1993. With a handful of exceptions many songs appear on both albums but the mix and overall sound is very different. A work in progress or the finished article as John intended? The jury is out! Let your ears decide…