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Because Island Records didn't feel it was the right time for a live album, Martyn independently released this record from his home. The initial release was a limited edition of 10,000 (which Island did manufacture, though not distribute or promote) that was numbered and signed. Though the album shares its title with the famous Who live collection of the same name, the working title was "Ringside Seat" and photos of Martyn and bassist Danny Thompson in a boxing ring were even taken for a prospective cover, though never used. Recorded February 13, 1975 (the sleeve incorrectly states October), at Leeds University in the U.K., this is John Martyn at a peak in his career. In Thompson, he'd found a perfect foil for his increasingly jazzy textures and their bass and guitar interaction is a particular highlight. Having mastered the echoplex, which was capable of producing waves of echoed and distorted sound, Martyn was doing things with an acoustic guitar that no one had ever done (or has done since). "Outside In" (all 18:57 of it!) is a tour de force showcasing the otherwordly sounds he could coax from this device, and is worth the price of the album alone. The re-released version on Voiceprint/One World includes five bonus tracks ("My Baby Girl," "You Can Discover," "So Much in Love With You," "Clutches," "Mailman") from the show, including the ones Paul Kossoff of Free guested on.
- Rob Caldwell (AMG)
toured extensively in 1975 with Danny Thompson, John Stevens on drums
and Paul Kossoff on guitar. A full-blooded and uncompromising concert
at Leeds University was recorded with a view to releasing a live album,
but Island weren't keen so John produced, designed and sold "Live
At Leeds" mail-order from his Hastings home. Kossoff had been
out of the music scene for some time with self-inflicted health problems
before John invited him to play. Apparently his playing was so erratic
that it had to be cut from the recording.
The limited edition of 10,000
quickly sold out. Many of the albums were numbered and personally
signed by John, making this a real collector's album. Even John himself
has no copy, "I sold them all... I was the first of the record
independents !". "It was great. Terribly hard work though...I
would never do it again. The only way to do it would be to hire people
to take care of everything; it was just too difficult for me and Bev.
It didn't help matters either when there was a three week delay between
the time EMI said they'd deliver the albums and the time they actually
Acting as producer and distributor
took it's toll on John and suffering from nervous exhaustion he didn't
play for months after the tour taking a sabbatical for four months
in Jamaica whee he was to meet Lee 'Scratch' Perry.
- John Hillarby (The John Martyn Website)
Outside In (Martyn) - 18:57
John Martyn - Guitar, Vocals