The New York Session (2000)

Released on 23rd November 2000 by Voiceprint this is an unusual and fun recording of a radio broadcast in 1998. A low price release and although the sound quality is far from that of a studio recording the original very poor quality master tape has been subjected to much work to produce this release. To put the release in the right context John and the band had been touring the USA promoting The Church With One Bell album. They were very short on sleep and exhausted with all the travelling. They arrived in New York at Radio WFUV on 15th June 1998 and were met by a presenter in a neat and tidy brightly coloured suit. The presenter’s suit was colour co-ordinated with his car, he was very enthusiastic and bumptious.

The studio resembled a broom cupboard! Arran Ahmun and his drum kit, Spencer Cozens and his synthesizers, Jim Lampi and the Chapman Stick and John were all squeezed into the room. John went on air with his back pressed up against the wall in the tiny studio and an amplifier that didn’t want to behave. Unfortunately, for the presenter, John was in playful mood….

The CD gives an insight into life on the road, John’s quick wit and also contains some good music, the first time in fact that She’s A Lover segued in to Solid Air has been available to fans on CD.

The New York Session

  1. Pre-broadcast and Introduction
  2. Excuse Me Mister (B. Harper)
  3. Interview
  4. She’s A Lover/Solid Air (J. Martyn)
  5. Interview
  6. Couldn’t Love You More (start) (J. Martyn)
  7. Couldn’t Love You More (finish) (J. Martyn)
  8. Interview Conclusion
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I’d Rather Be The Devil (Special Edition) (2009)

Released on 23rd November 2009 this repackage of existing releases in a cardboard box! A cynical attempt to cash in on John’s death perhaps?

All CDs and DVDs are in printed card sleeves without track details. One to avoid!

I'd Rather Be The Devil (Special Edition)CD1  (The Apprentice)
1. Live On Love 
2. The River 
3. Look at the Girl 
4. Income Town 
5. Send Me One Line 
6. Deny This Love 
7. Hold Me 
8. Upo 
9. The Apprentice 
10. The Moment 
11. Patterns in the Rain 

CD2  (Cooltide)
1. Hole in the Rain 
2. Annie Says 
3. Jack the Lad 
4. Number Nine 
5. The Cure 
6. Same Difference 
7. Father Time 
8. Call Me 
9. Cooltide 

CD3 (Classics)
1. Lonely Love 
2. Couldn’t Love You More 
3. Sweet Little Mystery 
4. Head and Heart 
5. Could’ve Been Me 
6. Over the Hill 
7. Fine Lines 
8. May You Never 
9. One World 
10. Ways to Cry 
11. Angeline 
12. Man in the Station 
13. Solid Air 
14. Never Let Me Go 
15. I Don’t Wanna Know 
16. Bless the Weather 

CD4 (Classics)
1. Pascanel 
2. Rock Salt and Nails 
3. Sundays Child 
4. Just Now 
5. Johnny Too Bad 
6. Sapphire 
7. Fishermans Dream 
8. Big Muff 
9. Easy Blues 
10. Dealer 
11. John Wayne 

CD5  (Classics Live aka Live At The Shaw Theatre)
1. Easy Blues 
2. May You Never 
3. Dealer 
4. Outside In 
5. Never Let Me Go 
6. Sapphire 
7. Could Not Love You More 
8. Deny This Love 
9. Fishermans Dream 
10. Big Muff 
11. Angeline 
12. Sweet Little Mystery 

CD6  (Classics Live aka Live At The Shaw Theatre)
1. The River 
2. Income Time 
3. The Apprentice 
4. John Wayne 
5. Look at That Girl 
6. Looking On 
7. Johnny Too Bad 
8. One World 

DVD7  (Live In Dublin (with Danny Thompson))
1. One Day Without You 
2. Solid Air 
3. Sweet Little Mystery 
4. Bless the Weather 
5. Make No Mistake 
6. Dealer 
7. Outside In 
8. Spencer the Rover 
9. May You Never 
10. One World 

DVD8  (The Apprentice Tour)
1. Easy Blues 
2. May You Never 
3. Dealer 
4. Outside In 
5. Never Let Me Go 
6. Sapphire 
7. Deny This Love 
8. Sweet Little Mystery 
9. The River 
10. The Apprentice 
11. John Wayne 
12. Look at the Girl 
13. One World

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Solid Air (Remastered And Expanded) (2000)

Universal Music released this remastered and expanded version of Solid Air on 23rd October 2000. Enhanced artwork and sleevenotes by John Wood, the CD came in a card slipcase. The releases includes a live version of I’d Rather Be The Devil.

The original Solid Air was released in February 1973 and regarded by many as the John Martyn album. The title track was written for friend and peer Nick Drake and concerned Drake’s mental strife at the time. (Drake took his own life the following year, a great loss to John personally, and to music generally). Adventurous, dynamic, with a rare depth and power, the album demonstrated John’s slurred vocal style, reaching the state where it became fully integrated into the overall sound as an improvisational instrument used for it’s colors of tone, something John has always aimed for. Musicians included Danny Thompson, Richard Thompson, John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick, Dave Pegg, Dave Mattacks and Simon Nicol.

John said, “Now Solid Air… I really like the title track. It was done for a friend of mine [Nick Drake], and it was done right with very clear motives, and I’m very pleased with it, for varying reasons. It has got a very simple message, but you’ll have to work that one out for yourself.”

May You Never / Just Now was released by Island as a single in November 1971. This early version of the later album track featured drums and Paul Kossof of free on the guitar. John didn’t like the way the track was turning out and left the producer “Robin somebody or other” to overdub and put it together. According to John it, “sold four copies.” The album sold well in the UK and America.

“A great album…as a single overall expression ‘Solid Air’ flows beautifully and shows the entire spectrum of music that John Martyn has at his fingertips.” (Sounds 7/4/73)

“Solid Air…if I had to decide, would probably rank as my favourite of the whole lot.” (Andy Childs, ZigZag No.41)

“Solid Air shines out like a beacon in the darkness.” (Pippin)

“Once in a while you hear a song that finds its way deep into your memory, and you find yourself humming along. This album has more than its share of fine songs like that, but noticeably Go Down Easy and May You Never.” (Pippin)

“With mellow jazzy flourishes and warm acoustic sounds, Solid Air is the musical equivalent of a reassuring hug…the man Beth Orton calls The Guv’nor achieved the impossible: he made a quiveringly sexy folk record.” – (Q, 1999 voting Solid Air as one of the best chill-out albums of all time)

Many of these songs were used for the soundtrack to the film Titanic Town in 1999.

  1. Solid AirSolid Air (J. Martyn)
  2. Over The Hill (J. Martyn)
  3. Don’t Want To Know (J. Martyn)
  4. I’d Rather Be The Devil (S. James)
  5. Go Down Easy (J. Martyn)
  6. Dreams By The Sea (J. Martyn)
  7. May You Never (J. Martyn)
  8. The Man In The Station (J. Martyn)
  9. The Easy Blues (J. Martyn)
  10. I’d Rather Be The Devil (Live) (S. James)
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Grace And Danger (Deluxe Edition) (2007)

Grace And Danger (Deluxe Edition) was released on 12th February 2007.

The original Grace and Danger was released in October 1980 having been held up for a year by Island boss Chris Blackwell who was a close friend of John and Beverley’s and who found it too openly disturbing to release. Only after extreme pressure from John was it finally released and John got the exorcism that he needed. In the late 1980′s John would cite this album as his favourite. The album features Phil Collins and John Giblin. Giblin’s harmonic bass playing was in the style of Weather Report’s late (and great) Jaco Pastorius, a band and style John had long admired. Relying increasingly on his Gibson S.G. electric guitar, John’s playing was highly inventive and beguilingly. With John’s distinctive vocal delivery and painfully honest lyrics, Grace and Danger became a stunning exposition of confusion, heartache, love and remorse. John later said that it was “probably the most specific piece of autobiography I’ve written. Some people keep diaries, I make records.”

“At times the blending of Martyn’s voice and guitar, John Giblin’s beautiful bass and Phil Collins immaculate drumming is simply breathtaking.” – Melody Maker

John said, “I was in a dreadful emotional state over that record…I was hardly in control of my own actions. The reason they finally released it was because I freaked: Please get it out! I don’t give a damn about how sad it makes you feel – it’s what I’m about: direct communication of emotion.”

“Grace and Danger was very cathartic, and really hurt, I was really in love with that woman.”

Island released Johnny Too Bad/Johnny Too Bad (Instrumental) and Johnny Too Bad/Johnny Too Bad (Version) as singles. In March 1981 a 12 inch extended dub version of Johnny Too Bad was released with an extended version of Big Muff on the reverse. In May 1981 Sweet Little Mystery/Johnny Too Bad was released as a single.

 Grace And Danger Deluxe 2CD

CD1

1.    Some People are Crazy
2.    Grace and Danger
3.    Lookin’ On
4.    Johnny Too Bad
5.    Sweet Little Mystery
6.    Hurt in Your Heart
7.    Baby Please Come Home
8.    Save Some (For Me)
9.    Our Love
10.  Sweet Little Mystery (Previously unreleased)
11.  Lookin’ On (Previously unreleased)
12.  Some People Are Crazy (Previously unreleased BBC TV “Old Grey Whistle Test” live performance – Recorded 2nd March 1981)
13.  Grace and Danger (Previously unreleased BBC TV “Old Grey Whistle Test” live performance – Recorded 2nd March 1981)
14.  Save Some (For Me) (Previously unreleased BBC TV “Old Grey Whistle Test” live performance – Recorded 2nd March 1981)

CD2

1.    Small Hat (Previously unreleased recorded at Basing Street studios 29th March 1979 – Mixed at Basing Street studios 9th June 1979)
2.    Johnny Too Bad (first version) (Previously unreleased recorded at Basing Street studios 29th March 1979 – Mixed at Basing Street studios 9th June 1979)
3.    Running Up the Harbour (Previously unreleased recorded at Basing Street studios 29th March 1979 – Mixed at Basing Street studios 9th June 1979)
4.    Sweet Little Mystery (first version) (Previously unreleased mixed at Basing Street studios 4th June 1979)
5.    Dead on Arrival (Previously unreleased mixed at Basing Street studios 4th June 1979)
6.    Some People Are Crazy (first version) (Previously unreleased mixed at Basing Street studios 4th June 1979)
7.    Baby Please Come Home (first version) (Previously unreleased mixed at Basing Street studios 9th June 1979)
8.    Grace and Danger (first version) (Previously unreleased mixed at Basing Street studios 9th June 1979)
9.    Hurt in Your Heart (The Instrumental) (Previously unreleased mixed at Basing Street studios 9th June 1979)
10.  After Tomorrow Night (Previously unreleased mixed at Basing Street studios 9th June 1979)
11.  Our Love (first version) (Previously unreleased mixed at Basing Street studios 9th June 1979)
12.  Lilo Blondino (Previously unreleased mixed at Basing Street studios 9th June 1979)
13.  Johnny Too Bad (dub mix) (Released as promotional 12-inch single in March 1981 – Previously unreleased on CD)

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One World (Deluxe Edition) (2004)

One World Deluxe Edition was released 1st November 2004.

The first five songs on CD2 are live from Regents Park, London in Summer 1978 the remainder being out-takes from the One World sessions. A very well put together package and very well remastered.

The original album was released in November 1977. One World was critically acclaimed, was commercially accessible and sold well, charting at number 54. It contains a variety of styles and moods from the dubbed Big Muff co-written with Lee Perry, to the incredibly romantic Couldn’t Love You More which has been reworked and recorded many times since and is still a great favourite with his fans. The album closes with the mesmerising “Small Hours”, a ‘live’ echoplex excursion featuring a flock of Canadian geese ! One of the all time great chill-out tracks which was later adapted and re-recorded as Anna for the Australian feature film In Search of Anna. Unfortunately a sound track was never released, but a small number of live performance tapes featuring Anna are in existence.

“Guaranteed to chill your spine.” (Melody Maker 10/12/77)

“Martyn’s labours on Island culminated with One World…that shifted his earlier crystalline sound into a deeper, more liquid encounter. Accompanied by Danny Thompson’s resonant bass and a superb lineup of Island musicians, Martyn’s expressive voice had matured via a wide range of circumstance. There were still moments of joyous sensitivity.” – Magnet

“One World looks like a work of importance and beauty, sounds even better and there’s no finer place to start to develop an addiction for the man who may be England’s brightest light in the musical starfield, nobody else comes near to John’s coherence in expressing the flux of spirit and the voice of emotion, he’s simply the guv’nor.” (Steve Burgess Dark Star)

“First encounters of the best kind – the day you hear’ One World’…A John Martyn Masterpiece” (Island Advertisement)

“You might not be in the market for a new Lamborghini or a flash apartment in Berkeley Square but there’s always ‘One World’…A John Martyn Masterpiece.” Island Advertisement)

John used a Rhythm Doctor: a drum machine winking through the mist of Small Hours and One World. He got more flack for that: “People thought it was so funny, that this geezer would walk onstage with a glorified metronome. They could not see that it was in fact a bass drum, with a kick drum at the top. A lot of the things I used to fiddle about with confused people at first.” – The Wire

One World Deluxe EditionCD1

  1. Dealer (J. Martyn)
  2. One World (J. Martyn)
  3. Smiling Stranger (J. Martyn)
  4. Big Muff (Lee Perry, J. Martyn)
  5. Couldn’t Love You More (J. Martyn)
  6. Certain Surprise (J. Martyn)
  7. Dancing (J. Martyn)
  8. Small Hours (J. Martyn

CD2

1.   Certain Surprise
2.   Couldn’t Love You More
3.   One World
4.   Dealer
5.   Small Hours
6.   Black Man At Your Shoulder
7.   Dealer – 1st alternate take
8.   One World – alternate version
9.   Smiling Stranger – instrumental
10.  Big Muff – alternate version with drums
11.  Certain Surprise – alternate version
12.  Dancing – alternate version
13.  Big Muff – drum machine version
14.  Dealer – 2nd alternate version
15.  Small Hours – instrumental version

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