Chill the Belt Sundays

John Martyn – Small Hours

A man introduced to me through my father and is also one of the most respected musical representatives of my original Surrey routes, John Martyn.

He’s claimed to be one of the most experimental artists of his time (I’m talkin’ the 1960’s +), crossing the boundaries between rock, folk, jazz and the blues… with seemless ability.

After a lengthy visit to Jamaica, Martyn came back to the UK with a bit of Reggae soul in his heart, a worthy addition to his already extensive collection of musical styles. A new influence to further expand and shift his sound. In 77 he released, perhaps, his most experimental of all his works. The album known as One World, possibly most noted for being largely recorded outside. Now I, careless as I am, haven’t listened to this album, not sure that I ever will, but I’m happy having heard just one of its pieces.

During one of my annual endeavours to the south-west, whilst on a late night car ride through beating rain I was first introduced to this track. Martyns best of had been strumming away and I’d paid phasing amounts of attention as I bode my time along the motorways and winding Cornish trails. Phasing amounts of attention until the final track, which I insisted be repeated multiple times. I’d once again found myself in love with composition. This wasn’t just a new song in the collection, this was a monumental mark in my understanding of music.

There are live performances of this track that can be found online and believe me when I say they are more than worth the viewing. But I want to give you the same original recorded experience that I had when I was first exposed to its beauty. Now in the video that I have chosen I must stress that the only audio present within the video is from the song, not the video footage. So that trickling sound of water? Those geese? That’s all the outdoor live capture of the original performance. It’s peaceful at it’s very best. It’s John Martyn.

Many producers from the dawning days of electronic experimentation have called this man the Grandfather of Triphop. And this guy’s essentially known as a Folk artist. And if anyone reading this knows me at all they’ll know that I have a fiending for all things Triphop. So J Martyn, hitting up the Folk, the Jazz, the Blues, the Rock and the Reggae, all on an extremely powerful level and then fusing these genres time and time again to an extent that he unknowingly birthed an entire electronic order years before its emergence… one that I again also love and adore? Not to mention the fact that he hails from my original county. Well that just makes him one of my favorite producers of all time.

Adoration at its highest for this song and Respect on the same level for this producer.



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