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Solid Air
Island ILPS9226 (1973)

Solid Air - John Martyn

Album available as:-
(Island Records IMCD85)

Much denser than before, Solid Air was to reveal a new twist in Martyn's musical style. Slurring his words even more, songs like the title cut fairly ooze from the shadows, and the jazzy inclinations keep the listener spellbound. A cover of Skip James' "I'd Rather Be the Devil" found Martyn using an Echoplex delay effect, which gave his guitar work an otherworldly feel. "May You Never" is a great folk tale familiar to those who own Eric Clapton's Slowhand - herein lies the original from the writer himself. Excellent!

- James Chrispell (AMG)

Released in February 1973 and regarded by many as the John Martyn album. The title track was written for friend and peer Nick Drake and concerned Drake's mental strife at the time. (Drake took his own life the following year, a great loss to John personally, and to music generally). Adventurous, dynamic, with a rare depth and power, the album demonstrated John's slurred vocal style, reaching the state where it became fully integrated into the overall sound as an improvisational instrument used for it's colors of tone, something John has always aimed for. Musicians included Danny Thompson, Richard Thompson, John 'Rabbit' Bundrick, Dave Pegg, Dave Mattacks and Simon Nicol.

John said, "Now Solid Air... I really like the title track. It was done for a friend of mine [Nick Drake], and it was done right with very clear motives, and I'm very pleased with it, for varying reasons. It has got a very simple message, but you'll have to work that one out for yourself."

May You Never / Just Now was released by Island as a single in November 1971. This early version of the later album track featured drums and Paul Kossof of free on the guitar. John didn't like the way the track was turning out and left the producer "Robin somebody or other" to overdub and put it together. According to John it, "sold four copies." The album sold well in the UK and America.

- John Hillarby (The John Martyn Website)


Track Listing:

1. Solid Air (Martyn) - 5:46
2. Over the Hill (Martyn) - 2:51
3. Don't Want to Know (Martyn) - 3:01
4. I'd Rather Be the Devil (James) - 6:19
5. Go Down Easy (Martyn) - 3:36
6. Dreams by the Sea (Martyn) - 3:18
7. May You Never (Martyn) - 3:43
8. The Man in the Station (Martyn) - 2:54
9. The Easy Blues (Martyn) - 3:22

John Martyn - Guitar, Vocals
Danny Thompson - Double Bass





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