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

Hi-Tension (1978) S/T (LP) Island Records (ILPS 9564)

Hi-Tension
Hi-Tension
Island(ILPS 9564)
1978
Producers: Kofi Ayivor & Alex Sadkin
(Title track produced by Ayivor & Chris Blackwell)
Rating: ***  (Noteworthy)
This English disco-funk outfit found considerable success at home, where both the title track and “British Hustle” were hit singles and dancefloor favorites, but they were mostly ignored in the States where disco fans preferred England’s Hot Chocolate, the German sound, or their own artists.  The band eases into this set with “You’re My Girl,” picking up the pace for “Searchin’,” slowing it down again for “Autumn Love,” before cutting lose on the instrumental “Power and Lightning.”  After that, they continue with the rollercoaster, the second side opening with the pure disco sound of “British Hustle,” slowly it down slightly for “If It Moves You” before launching into “Hi-Tension,” which like “Power and Lightning,” should appeal to fans of funk, the two guitarists and four percussionists burning a groove through the superficial, the horns and organ helping out, punching holes through the disco haze.  This is stylish disco-funk and fans of bands such as EWF should give this album a listen.

This is mostly known for its dance cuts, but the slower cuts deserve attention as well, especially the EWF-style “Autumn Love.”  While they weren’t breaking new ground with this set, they picked the right influences and the right musicians.

— winch