Stormbringer! (Original CD Release)

The beginnings of John Martyn’s varied career are described in the sleeve note to the first album London Conversation which is now available on CD.

In 1969, John met and married a singer from Coventry, Beverley Kutner, who was making records at the time with producer Joe Boyd. Boyd was the UK A&R man at Elektra, he ran his own Witchseason production company that included The Incredible String Band, an outfit linked with John Martyn in his early days.

John and Beverley Martyn were therefore signed up to Warner Brothers in America who sent them to Woodstock at the heigt of the folk rock revolution. Working with The Doors and Crosby, Stills, Nash producer Paul Harris, they came up with the Stormbringer! album, a pace setting acoustic rock adventure, with folk guitars filled out by pounding drums, piano and bass. Stormbringer! showed the influence of The Band on John’s musical direction, and featured The Band’s Levon Helm on drums and a range of other session men including The Mothers of Invention’s Billy Mundi. The mysterious title track included another innovation, a wash of strings, but this song Woodstock a paean to the people of the pinewoords is still in the London Conversation tradition. Would You Believe Me is the critical song containing intimations of the long and stormy passage ahead. This piece also introduced the echoplex guitar technique which John pioneered and which for years ahead became the headlight of his solo concert performances.

Brendan Quayle