Dallas Brooks Hall, Australia
MARGARET Roadknight kicked off with a Dylan song that ‘he never got round to recording’, She played, alone, a range of songs: in between she gave comments about their sources. Her second tune. ‘Lilac Wine’ was rescued from a sinking musical. Its style was operetta, and it showed her voice well. Most exotic was a song from Guinea, chanted to thumb piano accompaniment.
Shades of humor and political consciousness livened up her set. A song for Anita Bryant (“sometimes it hard to love you”) drew belly laughs. Best tunes were Bob Hudson’s melancholy ‘Girls In Our Town’ and the venomously funny ‘Libel.’
Here Bob set out to libel as many people as possible in four verses. Bassist Peter Howell joined her for these two pieces, he added much to her sound.
I am not a fan of Roadknight, but I enjoyed her set very much. She got a good response, and was called back, for an encore.
JOHN Martyn arrived on stage with amber fluid, and started off with echoplex, rhythm generator and ‘Big Muff.’ His onstage persona is gruff: he clowns and satires between songs (“come here Lucille”). When he starts a song, his concentration is total. THe joking was either a distraction, or a necessary relief.
The audience was his from the third song, “Couldn’t Love You More.” The long echoplex vamps left me cold, but the shorter lyrical songs were intense: they had the fidelity of his recordings, and a lot more presence. Each song had a strong riff, and Martyn is a master of varying tempo and attack. ‘Solid Air’ was his best performance.
Despite the lack of backing, the delivery was forceful. He is a superb vocal stylist. Pete Townshend once said he wished that he could move people with a single note. In my opinion Martyn did this in ‘One World.’
When he tries he can project his music very well; I felt at times that he wasn’t trying so hard. Despite some uneven moments, the concert was excellent.
Martyn’s encore was ‘Small Hours’ which was spellbinding. His comment on it was typical — “It can space you out if you catch it the right way .. anything can…”
1 July 1978
Dallas Brooks Hall
19 July 1978