On Air

Spell binding no frills solo set from 1975.

John Martyn has been ill served by too many variable live albums off late, more than a dozen at last count. On Air, recorded for Radio Bremen in September 1975, is not only vintage Martyn but also, unusually, purely solo. The classic Live At Leeds, recorded the same year, was a fiery trio workout with Danny Thompson and John Stevens. This is more delicate, less reliant on Echoplex techniques (the mesmerising “I’d Rather Be The Devil” apart) and atypically tempered vocally on the introspective “Bless The Weather” and “Go Down Easy”. The joyous instrumental “Seven Black Roses” displays an unexpected nod to Davey Graham. Self contained but impassioned.

Mick Houghton
1 September 2006