John Martyn (1971 – 1975) So Far So Good (LP) Island Records 9484 (1977)

John Martyn

So Far So Good 

Island Records 9484

**** recommended

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Coming out of the innovative folk from the British Isles in the late 60s, this Scottish musician was perhaps the first white artist to sign with independent label Island Records.  This 1977 anthology houses cuts from the previous Island albums (1971 – 1975) and concludes with a rocking live cut from Martyn’s self-released classic Live at Leeds (1975).  Other than the instrumental “Glistening Glyndebourne,” the album features vocal cuts by Martyn.  Likely bassist Danny Thompson (Pentangle) plays on all the dates, two from 1975 also featuring guitarist Paul Kossoff.

This collection provides an excellent overview of the Island years and showcases Martyn’s skills as a songwriter and a guitarist. The cuts are all teasers, informing the listeners of the quality of this artist’s work, and likely causing most to seek out each and every one of these Martyn albums from Island Records.

— winch (author of

LINK TO SELLERS

so far so good LP

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Big Bill Broonzy (LP) Last Session Part One (1957) Verve 3001 (1959)

Big Bill Broonzy
Last Session Part One
Verve 3001
Released 1959
Recorded July 1957
Produced & Directed by Bill Randle  

 

Recommended ****


The first of three sets Verve released in 1959, all recorded July 1957.  The day after the sessions, Broonzy would enter the hospital with lung cancer, and he’d be gone before the release of these albums.

Classic collection of acoustic blues, all good with several highlights including “Southbound Train,” “Joe Turner Blues,” and “I Ain’t Gon’ Be Treated This Way.”

Bert Jansch (1965) Lucky Thirteen (LP) Vanguard 79212

Bert Jansch
Lucky Thirteen
Vanguard 79212 
1965 

 

Good Shit *****



First U.S. release by this folk guitarist from Scotland, half of the selections from Bert Jansch(1965), the others from It Don’t Bother Me (1965), this collection alternating between vocal cuts and acoustic guitar solos, the latter especially strong but the vocal cuts powerful as well, some of them strong enough to put a chill to your bones. 

The cautionary tale “Needle of Death,” is as poignant as any drug song, ranks up there with Lou Reed’s song about the same subject matter, this one in sharp contrast to the celebratory drug songs of the 60s.  Other highlights include the traveling tales “Running From Home” and “Rambling’s Gonna Be the Death of Me.”

While the selections come from two albums, they fit together like cars in a freight train, the instrumentals chiming like chains, the sequencing creating a musical journey, a train ride through various landscapes, occasionally slowing down to gaze at people along the way.

This clearly influenced much of the music that followed, not just folk singers but rock artists as well.  It puts most of the competition to shame.

— winch

Mississippi John Hurt (LP) Folk Songs and Blues (1963) Piedmont (PLP13157)

Mississippi John Hurt
Folk Songs and Blues
Piedmont (PLP13157) 
1963
Rating: ***** (Good Shit)
Hurt had recorded a few sides for Okey in the 1920s (not big sellers), and then returned to share cropping.  In 1963, two D.C. musicians heard the old sides and managed to find him in Mississippi, brought him back to D.C. to record this debut album.  He’d record a few more sets and then passed away in Mississippi.

Classic country blues.  While I’ve heard sides that can stand next to these, I can’t say I’ve heard anything better in this style.

— winch

Paul Winter Consort (1973) Icarus (LP)

Paul Winter Consort

Icarus

Epic 31643

1973
Producer: George Martin

Rating:*** (Noteworthy)

Winter continues his move away from jazz with this set, sticking to a unigue folk sound and helping to lay down some firm foundations for what would become the genre called world music.  While most of the Consort had already formed Oregon by this time, Winter fortunately managed to retain them for this outing.  In fact, the Oregon members provide most of the material for this album, and fans of Oregon will want to check out this set.  This isn’t perhaps as spontaneous or adventurous as much of Oregon’s material, but this was likely Winter’s finest offering.

While I never considered Oregon as a band influenced by the Beatles, the George Martin production and the heavy use of Eastern instruments on this set perhaps helps point out a very creative extension of the Fab Four’s work.  This certainly offered the hippies and Beatles’ fans a much needed alternative to the post-Beatles singer/songwriter craze.  This set has some weaker moments, but mostly it’s quite enjoyable, and fans of Ralph Towner will certainly enjoy his contributions.

The band included Paul Winter (sax), David Darling (cello), Paul McCandless (horns), Ralph Towner (guitars, keyboards), Herb Bushler (bass), Collin Walcott (percussion).  Guests included Billy Cobham and Milt Holland on percussion.

— winch (author of…http://www.eight-track.com/Eight_Track_Publishing.php

 

Product Details

Product Details

 

 

The Best of Mississippi John Hurt (LP)

Mississippi John Hurt
The Best of Mississippi Hurt
Vanguard (VSD 19/20)
Producer: Bob Scherl
Rating: ***** (Good Shit)
Recorded April 15, 1965, released 1970
For some reason, Vanguard was famous for these albums with misleading titles.  This one is actually a four-sider capturing Hurt in concert at Oberlin College.
On the other hand, the title is not really inaccurate as this set is thoroughly enjoyable, Hurt alone with his acoustic guitar, sounding like he’s singing off the back porch of his Mississippi home, likely the place these were typically performed.

While Hurt only had a few years of recording, he sure didn’t waste any time.
— winch
(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)