Very sad. 'Solid Air' is one of my all time fave mellow records -- was introduced to his stuff by a room mate from Glasgow in college. "I'd rather be the Devil" became a kind of anthem for a while...
Saw J M live twice in the 80's, once with Max Middleton on keys (promoting the Grace and Danger album, I think). Absolutely magical performance. He always seemed to have a killer fretless player with him too. John Giblin played on the album I think, and a young whiz kid filled in capably at the live gig.
I remember reading a quote from him in Mojo saying that his early inspiration was a far out echoey jazz album by sax great Pharoah Saunders (who I also saw live once in LA). It inspired him to start messing around with echo pedals, and a new psychedelic folk sound was born!
Very sad to see him gone. But I think he left behind so much enduring and timeless music, his name will be known for a long time yet.
Me and some school friends went to see him in 1977, we had sparked up a big one before the gig.. OOOPS!
OMG it was like the devil himself was swooping down on us - JM was in a very dark musical phase (at least that night) he was doing a lot of amazing work with delays (surely an influence on U2's Edge?) and the musical atmosphere was very spooky and disturbed.. It really gave us the heebie jeebies! I think he cheered up the set towards the end (thank god) or else we would have had to go to sleep with the lights on!
John Martyn, an absolutely amazing artist.
I had the great pleasure of mixing one of his albums. While mixing in the dimly lit control room, I will never forget when I turned back to the outboard gear rack behind me to tweek a reverb , only to turn back around to ride a fader and jump out of my skin when suddenly I was face to face with a dripping wet huge lobster carcus sitting on the SSL vca group faders - OMG - John was so pleased with his prank ! Hilarious !!
Rest In peace John , your music will live forever.
Always loved the fact that he couldn't decide whether he was a sensitive poet or a drunken street fighter. And what a capacity for booze and weed!
His use of the Echoplex is masterful, so many people asked "Where are the other musicians?" yet it was just John with an acoustic in sync with his echos. Even Lee scratch Perry was impressed (Listen to the "One World" album).
And if "Small hours" doesn't move you, you can't be human.