Town And Country Club

JOHN MARTYN at the Kentish Town, Town And Country Club

Back with a new live album and more hair than before, the uptight king of cool is in primeval form. He stalks the stage in a flasher’s mac, his guitar lurching like a recalcitrant chainsaw, as he reviews his immediate back catalogue.

In a world of hostile planets – the hideous Five Star, the suspicious MARRS, the moustachioed Mercury – such defiant sputniks as John Martyn and Richard Thompson deserve all our support.

“People often say I’m not the full shilling.” Could this stem from his recent witching-hour vomitarium at the Mean Fiddler, a one song disaster? Nothing to trouble the cleaners tonight, thank heavens. Mostly he sticks to the songs on the live album, and when he does go back, it is usually to the One World collection.

But the best deal of the night is Martyn’s rendition of I’d Rather Be The Devil, complete with full echo throttle, which proves that if ambitious tykes like Johnny Marr and Pete Buck aspire to guitar hero status, at least there is a bearded bard from north of the border to oust first.

Other songs, including an inspired marriage of Small Hours and One World, are so damned cool that one wonders if Martyn’s parents conceived him in a Bejam’s store.

David Cavanagh
24 October 1987

13 October 1987
Town And Country Club