Solid Air / One World

JOHN MARTYN: Solid Air/One World

This pairing of I 973’s Solid Air with 1977’s One World must surely be based on sales figures as either Bless The Weather or Inside Out seem more obvious pairings for Solid Air, in terms of and musical evolution. While Solid Air’s inner sleeve shows a bell-bottomed, curly-haired Martyn clutching his trusty acoustic the contents show how far his synthesis of folk, jazz, blues and downright ambience had come by 1973. Alongside the hauntingly slurred title track arid whimsical slices of good vibery like May You Never and Over The Hill are the boiling funk of Skip James’s I’d Rather Be The Devil and the eerie paranoia of Dreams By The Sea. That combination has enabled much of Martyn’s ’70s work to stand the test of time and while One World is less strong, the blend of electric instruments sounds more sure-footed stand-outs are the gleeful Dancing and the dirty funk of Big Muff, co-written with Lee Perry on a Jamaican sojourn Many of these songs reappear on Martyn’s recent re-recorded collection, Couldn’t Love You More reworked into lush, AOR ballads.* * *

Mark Cooper
1 January 1993