Chameleonlike English folk singer John Martyn, perhaps most known for his work with echoplex guitar delays, has passed away. Born Iain David McGeachy, he was a member of the vibrant late-’60s/early-’70s English folk scene that spawned Nick Drake (a friend of Martyn’s), Jackson C. Frank, and Fairport Convention, among others. Though Martyn enjoyed acclaim, his career, like many of his peers, burbled just under the surface of the mainstream, even though his influence shows up in the work of guitar players like The Edge and Michael Brook, as well as a whole generation of self-loopers like Andrew Bird and Final Fantasy’s Owen Pallett.
At the same time that Robert Fripp was working with tape machines to create his guitar-delayed “Frippertronics,” Martyn experimented with running his acoustic guitars through Echoplex analog delay machines, in which signals are recorded on tape loops and spit back out delayed. This experimentation showed up on his seminal albums Bless The Weather, Stormbringer, One World, Solid Air and Inside Out, which were a break from his earlier, more traditional folk material. This relentless need to experiment traveled with him throughout his life; he dabbled in electronic music, reggae, and even trip-hop, with varying degrees of success. I am mostly familiar with his early-’70s work, as I found it more interesting than the early Joe Boyd/Nick Drake-y stuff like London Conversation. Now’s as good a time to delve further into the guy’s catalog.
This jazzy number was a fan-favorite and showcases his great vocal range and emotional delivery.
Eric Clapton covered this, but the original’s superior.
Martyn was 60.
John Martyn dies [Guardian]