The Cooltide Tour

The Cooltide Tour programme is predominantly in the form of quotations from John.

John Martyn
In His Own Words – “Doing What Comes Naturally”

On Success –
”I’m not interested in the showbiz jive which goes with the personal fame, but I’d like to be better known because the songs are good and I would like to move more people with them.”
The Times, 24/11/89
“Success is when you know your own worth. All the rest is unnecessary, ultimately.”
New Musical Express, 29/11/80
“I’ve not made much from my records. In fact the version of ‘May You Never’ by Eric Clapton has probably made me more money than all my stuff put together.”
New Musical Express, 29/11/80

On Changing Styles –
‘Had I remained solo, so many people were using techniques that I used years ago that I didn’t want to be lost in the quagmine of ‘Who is this Guy? Just another geezer playing with a repeat echo,’ so I had to change .”
Melody Maker, 23/10/82
”In Canada, for instance they screamed at me when I started playing the electric guitar!”
Guitarist, 6/90
“Even today there’s a split in my audience; there’s still a section that wants me to go back to what I was doing 10 years ago. When I first got the band I got terrible letters – the suit was seen as the main culprit .”
Q, 1990

Cooltide Tour ProgrammeOn Modesty –
‘I’m an original. I feel good that no -one else ever before had played the guitar like I do. That’s important to me. I hope to get a whole lot better, to make a bigger contribution.” Melody Maker, 4/11/78
“There’s still nobody who can do what I do I’m still unique.”
”I guess I’m a little arrogant, but then anyone who’s played jazz guitar and hasn’t got some sort of arrogance in them is obviously a lemon!”
New Musical Express, 22/12/84

On Life –
”I’m very good at doing what comes naturally.”
Melody Maker, 9/4/77
”I love women, I must confess. They are my weakness…but then I’m a romantic. The problem is they’re so beautiful aren’t they? Children even more so – they genuinely are such an inspiration.”
New Musical Express, 10/10/81

On Home –
I live in a tiny village with no pub and no shops and a population of about 70. I’ve got a studio and I potter around the garden, cook a lot, and fish. At home 1 walk around humming and whistling and dancing and banging on the windows. I’m known for it I was described the other day by somebody’s child as ‘the man who’s always singing.'”
Q, 1990

John Martyn
In His Own Words – “Jack the Lad”

On parents –
“My father was a tenor, my mother was a soprano. She used to play Debussy when I was a kid I really used to get into that. They took me to a show once with Roy Rogers and Trigger and I remember I much preferred Trigger to Roy Rogers.”
Melody Maker, 9/4/77

Cooltide Tour DatesOn School –
“They used to say I was intelligent but I was always the one who ‘should work harder’ and ‘must apply himself more.’”
Melody Maker, 9/4/77

On growing up in Glasgow –
“I was as much of a lad as a born coward could be –  you went out and kicked a few heads or else you were looked on as a pansy.”
Melody Maker, 9/4/77

On Careers –
“My parents wanted me to be a doctor. I would have liked to be an archaeologist – I’ve always been interested in that.”
Melody Maker, 9/4/77

On Playing Live –
“The adrenalin buzz you get from actually playing on the stage is quite amazing.”
Melody Maker, 9/4/77
”I try to balance my own favorites, the songs I really like playing, with what the audience wants to hear. It usually works out!’
Melody Maker, 4/11/78
‘It’s a very good feeling when people stand up and clap The confidence you get from playing in front of an audience is very valuable. It gives you more confidence in your writing.”
New Musical Express, 24/12/77
“As soon as the music starts I’m alright. I’m convinced that for those sections of my life when I’m playing, I don’t actually exist and time stands still for me.”
Melody Maker, 23/10/82
“I think I’ll play until the day I drop.”
Melody Maker, 3/10/81

Cooltide TourOn Touring in America –
“There’s nothing worse than playing to an audience of 20,000 screaming 17 year olds which I have done on occasions – when confronted with that I just don’t know what to do. I just turn up the volume full and close my eyes. ”
New Musical Express, 29/11/80

On His First Inspiration to play Guitar –
”It was hearing Joan Baez’s  record of  ‘Silver Dagger’ – I’ve never liked anything else of hers.’”
Melody Maker, 13/10/73

On The Early Days –
I learned to play off Hamish Imlach who taught me a lot. Later I met the Incredible String Band and I would support them on folk-club gigs and get three or four quid When I moved to London I was playing clubs like Cousins and the Kingston Folk Barge where I was spotted by Theo Johnson who took me to Island Records with a song called ‘Fairy Tale Lullaby which everyone was impressed with and I was signed up. ”
Zig Zag, 4/74

On The Young Martyn –
“I was very shy and retiring until I was 20 and then I just got the heave with Donovan and Cat Stevens and all that terribly nice rolling up joints and sitting on toadstools watching the sunlight dapple its way through the dingly dell of life’s rich pattern stuff. I consciously turned away from all that.” – Q, 1990

The Band

Gerry Conway

Born in Kings Lynn Norfolk on 11.9.47. Gerry started playing when he was three but turned pro at sixteen.

He worked with Alexis Korner in the 60s then Eclection and Fotheringay with Sandy Denny in 1970. He started session work and made albums for Ian Mathews, Steelye Span, Mick Softy, John Cale, Francoise Hardy, Incredible String Band and lots and lots and lots of others!

He joined the Cat Stevens band in 1971 and spent the next six years touring and making albums with him. He also worked with Jim Capaldi, Chris DeBurgh and Linda Lewis during this time. Back into the sessions in 1977 working on singles
and with Elkie Bookes, David Dundas, Gonzales, etc. In 1978 he moved to America to form a band with Jerry Donahue and also with Big Mama Thornton Lowel Fullson and Tom Scott during this time.

He moved back to England in 1981 to work with Jerry Donohue, Jethro Tull, Richard Thompson, Pentangle, and other sessions.

Spencer Cozens

Spencer left technical college in Newark in July, 1983 and spent a year self-employed building flightcases and speakers.

He moved to London in 1984 and joined guitarist Dominic Miller’s band IGUAZU. He played on his album, IGUAZU and did the Edinburgh festival with the band, including playing on BBC Radio 2 Brian Matthew’s programme, ROUND MIDNIGHT.

In 1985, he again worked with Dominic Miller in a trio with flautist Dave Heath. The trio did several concerts in the Purcell Room on the South Bank and at the 1985 Edinburgh festival as well as appearing on TV-AM and recording for BBC TV’s PEBBLE MILL AT ONE.

During this time in London he played several bands doing clubs such as the WAG and BASS CLEF and worked as a session musician up until late 1986 when he went to Boston to study at The Berklee College of Music.

Moved back to London in late 1987 and became involved in the alternative comedy scene playing for comedian Johnny Immaterial in the group, LOS PROPERTOS. Gigged extensively around the country including Amnesty International’s show THE FAMOUS COMPERE’S POLICE DOG at the Duke of York’s theatre in the West End. He did several radio and TV appearances on GLR Radio and 01 FOR LONDON with the act. More recently they recorded a show with Glaswegian comedian Jerry Sadowitz for BBC 2, due to be screened in January, 1992.

In autumn 1989, he joined Julia Fordham’s band for the PORCELAIN tour and did the US launch of the album in New York in early 1990. During this time he worked with bassist Alan Thomson, percussionist Miles Bould and sax player Dave Lewis, with whom he toured John’s APPRENTICE album during the first six months of 1990. With various line-ups since, he has toured Germany, France, Spain and Italy with John.

Since completing a music degree at GOLDSMITHS COLLEGE in London this year he has spent the majority of the time in Scotland working on the Cooltide album at CAVA sound workshops in Glasgow. Prior to the studio, he and John worked on pre-production and used the DAT to DAT system of recording, enlisting the help of Miles Bould. Recent work has also included working with Julia Fordham on demos for her most recent album, Dominic Miller on THAMES TV theme tunes and completing a recording project with Miles Bould.

Dave Lewis

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri in the United States Dave has spent much of his life in Britain. The Blues have been a major influence in his music. At an early age, he played Boogie-Woog ie piano and later guitar-inspired by the likes of Hubert Sumlin and BB King. However, it was not until his late teens that he picked up the Tenor Sax – it is here that he has found his voice.

In the late 70s, he played in a variety of funk and pop bands in London, but an interest in Jazz (Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon) as well as his R &B roots (King Curtis, Junior Walker) led him to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1982. Whilst there he played with various jazz groups and worked the East Coast club circuit as a member of a 10 piece R & B Band ‘High Function.’

Since his return to London in ’88 he’s played extensively and recorded with Ed Bentley’s ‘Blue Note Quartet’ featuring Jim Mullen on guitar. More recently much of his work has been with John Martyn, being on the 1990 Apprentice Tour. He is also currently working with British Jazz Drummer Tommy Chase.

Alan Thomson

Born and bred in Glasgow, bassist Alan Thomson was plucked from his school/college band “The Arther Trout Band” by John Martyn in 1980.

His first recording with John was the album “Glorious Fool” on which he worked with Phil Collins, Max Middleton, and Eric Clapton. He then went on to play on the albums “Well Kept Secret”, “Sapphire”, “Piece by Piece”, “Philentropy” and the early stages of “The Apprentice.”

Since “The Apprentice,” Alan has toured with John in Japan, Europe, and the UK as well as with Julia Fordham, Jerry Donahue, and Sally Barker.


Bless The Weather





“A masterpiece … John continues to stay several steps in front of his contemporaries with tracks like Glistening Glyndebourne! “
(Sounds , 27/11/71)

Solid Air





“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)
Inside Out






“A celebration of love – is playing has reached an uplifting intensity, the equal of anything on offer at present… I unreservedly recommend it!” (Melody Maker, 13/10/73)

Sunday's Child






“Simply one of the best British albums made in the 1970s.” (Zig Zag, 3/77)

One World






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

Grace And Danger






“At times the blending of John Martyn’s voice and guitar, John Giblin’s beautiful bass and Phil Collins immaculate drumming is simply breathtaking.” (Melody Maker, 1/11/80)

Glorious Fool






“Produced by Phil Collins from appearances from him and even Eric Clapton, ‘Glorious Fool’ is a brilliantly blatant bid for the long – deserved big – time.” (Melody Maker, 19/9/81)

Well Kept Secret






“The songs are warm and intelligent and a majority of ‘well kept secret’ is pacier and louder than he’s ever been on one album before… it’s a good record, a class record.” (New Musical Express, 4/9/82)






“A faithful momento of Martyn at his live best – jazzy, sharply recorded. ‘Philentropy’ stretches Martyn’s voice from poisonous howl to besotted slur – low key but ever so seductive.” (Melody Maker, 11/83)







“’Sapphire’ comes close to grade A form.” (Rolling Stone, 28/3/85)

Piece By Piece






“Martyn endows the music with all the benefits of a crystalline production technique and ‘Piece By Piece’ showcases Martyn’s ability to blend his personality and voice with the rigours of jazz instrumentation.” (New HiFi Sound, 6/86)







“Musically excellent.” (Q, 12/87)

The Apprentice






“A class act.” (Q, 4/90)