Live At Leeds (1975)

John toured extensively in 1975 with Danny Thompson, John Stevens on drums and Paul Kossoff on guitar. A full-blooded and uncompromising concert at Leeds University was recorded with a view to releasing a live album, but Island weren’t keen so John produced, designed and sold “Live At Leeds” mail-order from his Hastings home. Kossoff had been out of the music scene for some time with self-inflicted health problems before John invited him to play. Apparently his playing was so erratic that it had to be cut from the recording.

Available from 12th September 1975, the limited edition of 10,000 quickly sold out. Many of the albums were numbered and personally signed by John, making this a real collector’s album. Even John himself has no copy, “I sold them all… I was the first of the record independents !”. “It was great. Terribly hard work though…I would never do it again. The only way to do it would be to hire people to take care of everything; it was just too difficult for me and Bev. It didn’t help matters either when there was a three week delay between the time EMI said they’d deliver the albums and the time they actually arrived.”

The album confirmed his reputation as a witty and original stage performer with a wicked line in banter and repartee, and this, coupled with excellent album reviews, was bringing John Martyn the audience that was to stay with him for years to come.

“Live At Leeds is an excellent album… a very honest and straightforward representation (colourful language included) of a typical John Martyn concert at a time when he was accompanied by the excellent Danny Thompson on bass and John Stevens on drums.” (ZigZag 3/77)

Acting as producer and distributor took it’s toll on John and suffering from nervous exhaustion he didn’t play for months after the tour taking a sabbatical for four months in Jamaica whee he was to meet Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.

The recent reissue of Live At Leeds (One World Records, 1998) includes 5 bonus tracks with Paul Kossoff playing guitar – My Baby Girl, You Can Discover, So Much In Love With You, Clutches and Mailman.

  1. Live At Leeds Outside In (J. Martyn)
  2. Solid Air (J. Martyn)
  3. Make No Mistake (J. Martyn)
  4. Bless The Weather (J. Martyn)
  5. The Man In The Station (J. Martyn)
  6. I’d Rather Be The Devil. (J. Martyn)