John Martyn (1948 – 2009) was one of the stand-out artists on the British folk / folk-rock scene for many years. Over that time, he produced a number of wonderful albums which varied from straight-ahead folk to folk infused with jazz elements.
He also pioneered the use of the acoustic guitar along with a number of electronic effects like delay and reverb which produced a unique sound.
For many people, Martyn’s 1973 LP entitled Solid Air is regarded as his classic release. The title track was written about his friend Nick Drake and its fluid bass and shimmering keyboards provide a superb backdrop to his acoustic guitar and sultry slurring vocal lines.
Martyn also has occasion to get a bit rocky with I’d Rather Be the Devil. It contrasts with more gentle folky numbers like Over the Hill and May You Never.
This is an album which I consider to be an essential addition to anybody’s record collection. It is currently available on vinyl via the Back to Black series.
Pictured below is a UK pressing of the album dating from around 1976.