Friday, 22 January 2016

John Martyn - Sapphire [remastered January, 2015], album review

Always John Martyn

Any John Martyn fan loves all of his albums and rightly so, and I remember distinctly when I got my vinyl copy of this as with all the others, and yes these from the 80s.

So I know this album well. Favourite songs are John's cover of Over the Rainbow, and Fisherman's Dreams. These are beautiful. Mad Dog Days is 80s production corrupted to excellence. Two songs I will also mention in particular are the jazz-infused Coming in on Time and Rope-Soul'd: the former has an instrumental backdrop of looping dissonance that builds to the level of Martyn's superb jazzy vocal; the latter is a brooding ballad where piano and percussion - and Alan Thompson's glorious bass - lay the jazz-inflected tone, Colin Tully on sweet saxophone.

The second disc that comes with the remastered version has some interesting extras: Over the Rainbow with its distanced, slightly echoed vocal; Fisherman's Dream with its 'straight' rather than 'gospel' choir - a less emotive version; Mad Dog Days [Andy Lydon Mix] which strips away much of the swelled sound on the original, and closes on three 1986 live recordings. All good, always.

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