Tuesday, 1 October 2013

John Martyn - The Island Years Box Set

From one genius to another. Oh yes indeed! Like Roy Harper, Martyn was supremely individual in the music he made and how he made it. Not just satisfied with banging out songs on an acoustic guitar, he fed the thing through fuzzboxes, flangers and echoplex. A brilliant songwriter, but itching to take his music into unknown arenas. He embraced folk, rock, jazz and dub to produce music that is extraordinarily daring, innovative, heartfelt and honest. This box set collects not just all his albums he recorded for Island, but everything in between. There is so much bonus material on offer across the 17 CD's, this is the ultimate testament to a true original artist. It's only when box sets like this are put together you get a sense of what a lifetime achievement that is being represented. For John Martyn, this is a fitting legacy to an extraordinary musical legacy. From the early folk albums, to the otherwordly albums with wife Beverley, the exploratory works like Solid Air, to the lush, desperate Grace and Danger, it's all here. The 120 page hardback book compiled by John Hillarby is wonderful on its own, beautifully designed by Phil Smee, who is the man to go to for these sets. There is even a DVD of his Old Grey Whistle Test and Sight and Sound In Consert Sets. Its all here! Well done to Universal in recognising that a talent like John Martyn deserves such a box set as this truly wonderful package is. My, what a week its been already. So much great stuff!!

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