Sweet Little Mysteries: The Island Anthology

Sweet Little Mysteries: The Island Anthology

by John Martyn

CD(Dutch Import)


John Martyn was Island Records' first white solo performer. Having debuted as a fresh-faced teenage folky with 1967's London Conversation, he soon embarked on a restless musical odyssey. Built on a foundation of folk, blues, and jazz, Martyn's music has ranged from effects-laden experimentation, through rock, to fusion-influenced pop. This overview of Martyn's Island recordings ignores his first two albums and two releases with then-wife Beverley, picking up with Bless the Weather (1971). Although ornate love songs from that record like "Head and Heart" remain close to Martyn's traditionalist roots, the instrumental "Glistening Glyndebourne" shows he was keen to distance himself from the Donovan-Cat Stevens orbit of twee folk-pop. Solid Air, 1973's sublime follow-up, is well represented here. On it, Martyn moved effortlessly among light acoustic tunes ("Over the Hill"), darker, jazzier numbers ("Solid Air," his ode to friend Nick Drake), and gizmo-enhanced excursions (his rendering of Skip James' "I'd Rather Be the Devil"). Martyn pursued his experimental inclinations further with the jazz-folkadelic Inside Out (1973); that album's adventurous spirit is captured by the gently droning "Eibhli Ghail Chiuin Ni Chearbhaill," which reworks a 19th century Celtic folk tune with such late 20th century rock tools as a fuzzbox and phase-shifter. Sunday's Child (1974) returned to a more focused song format, as demonstrated by the mournful "Spencer the Rover." Martyn's next studio venture, One World (1977), combined chilled-out moodscapes ("Small Hours") with slick, adult-oriented pop and rock ("Dancing"), the latter tendency even more prominent on Grace & Danger (1980) and exemplified by the delicate "Sweet Little Mystery." While Martyn's later Island releases were less memorable, those mid-'80s numbers collected here hold up well. This album provides a great introduction to John Martyn; its only weakness is the omission of his earliest efforts, a sampling of which would give a fuller sense of his work's evolution.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/17/1994
Label: Universal I.S.
UPC: 0731452224521
catalogNumber: 5222452

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Martyn   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals,Multi Instruments
David Ball   Bass
Phil Collins   Drums,Background Vocals
Richard Thompson   Mandolin
Steve Winwood   Multi Instruments
Tony Coe   Saxophone
Simon Nicol   Autoharp
Dave Pegg   Bass
Rico   Trombone
Barry Reynolds   Guitar
Neemoi Acquaye   Conga
John "Rabbit" Bundrick   Multi Instruments
Danny Cummings   Percussion
Sue Draheim   Violin
Tommy Eyre   Synthesizer,Keyboards
Jon Field   Flute
Tristan Frye   Vibes
John Giblin   Bass
James Hooker   Keyboards
Dave Lawson   Synthesizer
Andy Lyden   Drums
Dave Mattacks   Drums
Terry Nelson   Harmonica
Andy Newmark   Drums
Foster Paterson   Keyboards,Background Vocals
Morris Pert   Percussion
James Prime   Keyboards
Robin Rankin   Keyboards
Harry Robinson   Strings
Hansford Rowe   Bass
Bruce Rowlands   Drums
Kesh Sathie   Tabla
Steven Stanley   Drums
Uziah "Sticky" Thompson   Percussion
Colin Tully   Saxophone
Jack Waldman   Keyboards
Arran Abmun   Drums
Jeff Castle   Keyboards
Danny Thompson   Bass,Double Bass
Alan Thompson   Multi Instruments

Technical Credits

John Martyn   Arranger,Producer
Bob Welch   Composer
Chris Blackwell   Producer
Smiley DeJonnes   Contributor
Colin Escott   Contributor,Essay
Rob Fraboni   Producer
Remi Kabaka   Contributor
Martin Levan   Producer,Engineer
Beverley Martyn   Contributor
Dave Murricane   Arranger
Tony Reeves   Contributor
Kesh Sathie   Contributor
Slickers   Composer
Chris Stuart   Contributor
Ian Whiteman   Contributor
Trevor Wyatt   Contributor
Bobby Keyes   Contributor
John Woodfor   Producer
Chris Wood   Contributor

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