John Martyn

JOHN MARTYN - HEAVEN AND EARTH - the last studio recordings.

The last album recorded by the wonderful, legendary John Martyn is due to be released in the UK in May 2011. Entitled Heaven and Earth, this stunning nine track recording will be made available and distributed by Absolute Recordings from May 16th. The full track listing runs as follows: Heel Of The Hunt, Stand Amazed, Heaven And Earth, Bad Company, Could've Told You Before I Met You, Gambler, Can't Turn Back The Years, Colour, Willing To Work. All tracks were written by John Martyn aside from Can't Turn Back The Years which was written by Phil Collins, a long term Martyn collaborator; Collins played on Martyn's Grace and Danger (1980) and Glorious Fool (1981) albums, the pair were extremely close friends and this song in particular is a benchmark to assess their songwriting relationship.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist John Martyn was born Iain David McGeachy on September 11, 1948. He began his innovative and expansive career at the age of 17 with a style influenced by American blues artists like Robert Johnson and Skip James, the traditional music of his homeland, and the eclectic folk of Davey Graham. With the aid of his mentor, traditional singer Hamish Imlach, Martyn began to make a name for himself and eventually moved to London, where he became a fixture at Cousins, the centre for the local folk scene that spawned the likes of Bert Jansch, Ralph McTell and Al Stewart. Soon after, he caught the attention of Island Records founder Chris Blackwell who made him the first white solo act to join the roster of his reggae-based label. The subsequent album London Conversation (February 1968), only hinted at what was to come in Martyn's career. Although it contained touches of blues along with Martyn's rhythmic playing and distinctive voice, it was for the most part a fairly straightforward British folk record. With his follow-up later that same year, The Tumbler (produced by Al Stewart), Martyn began to flesh out his sound and encompass more jazzy elements. Subsequent recordings such as Bless The Weather (1971) and Solid Air  (1973) helped form the foundation of Martyn's fan base and featured some of his most mature and enduring songs: "Solid Air," written for close friend Nick Drake, "May You Never" (recorded by Eric Clapton and "Head and Heart" (recorded by America). Other seminal works include Inside Out (1973), Sunday’s Child (1974), Grace and Danger (1980), Glorious Fool (1981), Well Kept Secret (1982) and Philentropy (1983).

Heaven and Earth was completed just before Martyn died from pneumonia at the age of 60 on January 29th 2009. All the tracks on the album were kept as John wished and in their entirety. Specifically, "Most of this record was recorded in every room of the house on Woolengrange. It was done while everyday life was going on…looking at birds, gizmo barking, peat and logs on the fire, tin cans, tea pots and candles, boiling kettles, simmering  recipes, Robbie Burns prose, warm port and herbal aromas all huddled around with Buddah looking on." The album was produced and mixed by Garry Pollitt and Jim Tullio with additional production by Spencer Cozens and Stefon "Bionik" Taylor.

Heaven And Earth - Absolute Recordings -May 16th 2011.


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