Thursday, May 18, 2017

18th May You Never

It's time for a May 1977 anniversary special, courtesy of one of the all-timers.
I remastered this one 8 years ago, when its author passed away after a long and storied career. It was recorded exactly 40 years ago tonight, in a venue normally used for children's shows.
The temperature onstage is roughly 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the performance is even hotter than that.  Somehow he manages to keep his guitar in tune, in itself a Herculean feat under the oppressively warm circumstances. Luckily early on someone brings him a cold one.
If you don't know who John Martyn was, it's probably time to find out. This performance is almost an ideal introduction to who he was and what he did, and why he's still and will likely always be one of the top-drawer songwriters of any era.
The audience in this one is characteristically boisterous, as with many's an Italian crowd. JM feeds off this energy and turns in a monster 79-minute set, thankfully captured from the mixing desk but never officially issued. Years ago I found it on eMule (remember eMule?) and I almost never see it circulating, so it's time to change that.
You can read my eulogy of John in the info file that comes with this one... I'm not going to rehash it here in all its treacly glory. Suffice to say very few people have ever heard him whose lives he did not alter forever.
This set in particular sees him at his absolute peak, just as arguably his finest record -- One World, recorded mostly outside on a European lake in the small hours of the morning -- is about to drop. He runs through 13 of his signature tunes and sings/plays his ass off as usual.
John Martyn
Teatro Antoniano
Bologna, Italy
5.18.1977
EN remaster

01 One Day Without You
02 Certain Surprise
03 Couldn't Love You More
04 Big Muff
05 Jelly Roll Baker (Easy Blues)
06 Seven Black Roses
07 Over the Hill
08 Spencer the Rover
09 Outside In
10 One World
11 May You Never
12 Singin' In the Rain
13 I'd Rather Be the Devil

Total time: 1:19:02

John Martyn - vocals and guitar

master soundboard, possibly a cassette, remastered in 2009 by EN
377 MB FLAC here
Ol' Johnny Toobad is long gone from us now, probably enjoying another cold one with his old pal Nick Drake in Music Valhalla, the two of them ruminating upon how much everyone loves you after you're dead. No matter, for we have the artifacts they left behind, and as long as their sounds are still around, they can never die. Our friends, after all, are never really dead to us until we have forgotten them.
Anyway that's all I am gonna say except that this show never fails to blow the mind of anyone for whom I've ever played it. Pull it down, fire up that cone or that single malt, and John Martyn and his echoplex will make sure you're next.--J.
9.11.1948 - 1.29.2009