I freely admit to being one of those John Martyn fans who'd forgive him almost anything for those moments of utterly sublime music, so you could say that I was already set to enjoy this biography. However, there are music biographies that are simply a dry catalogue of work and others that reveal their subjects in such an off-putting light it stains the music, so I was a little apprehensive about what I would read.
What I found was a beautifully-written, lucid account of the man and the musician - not always, as Nickson reminds us, a comfortable mix. Far from detracting from the music, Nickson's analysis made me revisit the albums with renewed interest and enjoyment. John Martyn was just sixty when he died, but reading this biography made me keenly aware of how very young he was, just seventeen, when his professional career began and how much music he packed into his life.