The Apprentice Tour (Video)

JOHN MARTYN LIVE: The Apprentice Tour.

LOOKING WORRYINGLY like one of those Gulf nutter Johnnies in his multi-coloured kaftan and shades, John Martyn strolls onstage plucking his acoustic and already bathed in sweat. What has he been up to backstage? John Martyn Live is a (sometimes gruellingly) accurate souvenir of one night from his recent Apprentice tour and displays all that is attractive and unpalatable about this enigmatic, alluring figure.

When he’s on form, as in ‘Dealer’, One World’ or the rightly perennial ‘May You Never’, there’s something irresistible and warm about his craft. At other times, however, his songs atrophy into a slew of middle-aged jazz rock, all shimmering cymbals and flatulent fretless bass, sporadically enlivened by Martyn’s heartfelt guitar playing.

John also feels compelled to prick about between every song and during all of the moody intro passages (and there are many). This habit, initially amusing, palls very quickly. At the death Dave Gilmour, of The Pink Floyd, is led on for a bit of a jam’. I mention this merely to point out that I was still there at the end. Just.

Stuart Marconie
New Musical Express
8 September 1990