Sunday 24 March 2013
Incredibly Drunk Post
OK, you would not believe the night I've had tonight. The kind of legendary night that you look back on and go 'god damn' in your old age I imagine.
Nevertheless, all kinds of respectable people can read this blog, so I'm not going to shared the exciting events with you. What I will do is tell you a secret that someone should have told you a long time ago.
The secret is John Marytn. Everyone's addicted to it, its all the rage, from people in high places to the lowest junkies in the street there's a secret club of people all massively dependant on the music of John Martyn.
If you've not heard of this gentleman, crack out spotify, or iTunes or whatever, and get yourself a copy of 'Solid Air' to listen to. Beware though, John Martyn is not gateway music, you can't give him up. Once you become dependant your stuck.
When I first heard this record, I thought it had been newly recorded by a modern artist, which is why it was so obscure. The first thing I thought was 'that has to have been recorded to tape - it sounds so GOOD!'. Of course it turned out it was, in 1973 there wasn't another option. Still, talk about pristine perfect production, brilliant musicianship and stunning atmosphere.
The album's title track 'Solid Air' is dedicated to Nick Drake, the folk songwriter, famous as the Van Gough of 60's music (suicidal before his post-humous success). OK, thats a bit unfair, while your at it check out Nick Drake's Pink Moon, and work out why Jeff Buckly and Damien Rice and all those pretenders can't write for shit. Anyway, Solid Air would be a track worthy of massive decontruction if it wasn't the comparatively lamest track on an album of ridiculously awesome music. This isn't ahead of its time, it just hasn't been matched yet. Its too bloody perfect. It messes with your head.
Anyway, track two, mandolin folk, would be boring would it not be for the inexplicably catchy seemingly perfect composition. It may even seem normal first time round, but stick with it.
Track three is when it starts to get MASSIVELY interesting. Rather be the Devil. This dirty Skip James blues number is raw sexuallity, dereft of morals and incredibly exciting - ending with some strange jazz improv section which a jazzer would interpret better than myself. All I can say is listen, you'll get what I mean.
Track four is when the brilliant sex music starts. I don't know if this is why I connect with Mr Martyn, but the raw sensitivity and gentle sexuality of his music I can really relate to. Is this track about oral sex? I'm not really sure what 'Go Down Easy' meant in 1973, but I know what it means today and its sexy as hell.
track five, Dreams by the Sea. After rather be the the devil, John's hinted he can rock it up. Here he does. Wurlitzer piano, my favourite,with sex wah wah and some incredible drums and bass. Eat your heart out Jim Morrison, here is the even realer deal.
May You Never. Well, well, well/. Covered and destroyed by Eric Clapton, this original is the ultimate love song. Strong, delicate, clever, but so so loving. I'm sick of trying to play an even half good cover of this song. Again guitar playing so good it makes you feel slightly sick inside. In a good way.
The man in the station - I felt this kind of cold, having my lovely wool coat pinched tonight. yes, it was cold, luckily we got a taxi home. Anyway, listen you'll relate.
The Easy Blues is dedicated to Jelly Roll Morton the incredible blues pianist. If Del Davison, as he tells me, can't find an accurate tab to this song, I wonder if anyone apart from John knows how to play this tune. It's like an instruction manual for good guitar.
My copy ends with a live version of 'Rather Be The Devil' which I think packs more clout than the studio version. I would have loved to see him in his prime.
I've always kinds of thought there's a degree of idolatry for Eric Clapton and even Jimi Hendrix that is a tiny bit just hero worship, and nothing to do with music. There's no bull with John, nobody's gonna tell you he's the greatest guitarist of all time, but listen and - yeh, I'm wondering too....