John Martyn – Solid Air (Island, 1973)


Nick: solitaire? or solid air?

solid air.

how old was he when he died? it was only recently.

not sure, lemme check.

he lived in Ireland didn’t he?

yeah, Thomastown.

did you ever meet him?

nope, when we played down there in… Carrolls?… I have a slight memory of someone saying he was around earlier that day or something or in another part of the bar or maybe thats just a false memory or something. it would’ve been hard to miss him, he was a giant.

really? I always thought of him as a slight guy.

yeah in his early days kinda, not so much in his later life.

it’s great stuff.

that’s all I can say, great stuff.

you can listen to this a lot, well I could.

again, he uses lots of sound effects…

well he was….

but they’re relevant to the music, they’re not there to make a point about being experimental or anything, they’re part of the music.

it’s amazing, if you slightly turn off, you could think it was Van Morrisson singing. who I’ve begun to appreciate a little bit more.

he has some incredible musicians here, whoever they are.

(track 7 – May You Never)

that’s an Eric Clapton song isn’t it?

I think he may have covered it.

no I think it’s his song, it’s on Slow Hand, isn’t it?

dunno, Slow Hand is over in that pile of records I think.

no, it’s not here.

off to google so.


but I’m right.

are you?

I think I am.

you think you are.

well think about it, Slow Hand is from the early 80’s, no?

70’s I think.

here it is, 77.

so four years after this was released.

oh, ok yes it says it here, actually hardly anything on Slow Hand is written by Clapton.

albums over.

beautiful stuff.

A good few years ago I went to see Mr. Martyn in Vicar St. It wasn’t very good, his band, I can only assume, had been put in cold storage sometime in the mid-80’s and were brought out every now and then to inflict on audiences some of the worst spazz jazz synth work you could imagine. Things got way better when the band fucked off for a rest, leaving just Martyn and his guitar and that voice. This only lasted 2 or 3 songs though and we were back to the shitfest.

Oh well. Rest in peace John, you were only deadly.


2 responses to “John Martyn – Solid Air (Island, 1973)

  1. Solid Air is very good, but his first album London Conversation, will make you crap your pants… very stripped down, dry recording, guitar and voice with the odd sitar raga and he was only 18 when he recorded it. Track is down dudes!

    Good old John Martyn

  2. i agree 100%
    i was at that gig in vicar st and that band were straight off a late 80’s cruise ship.
    awful.but john martyn on his own on stage that night was incredible.
    i remember it was after he lost a leg and during mr jelly roll maker he stopped. wiped the sweat from his brow and flicked it from his hand and i looked like a special effect under all those lights.
    check out one world by john martyn also,

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