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Grace And Danger
Grace And Danger
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 6.62

57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't believe it., 4 May 2004
This review is from: Grace And Danger (Audio CD)
Ever broken up with a wife? Or a long-term girlfriend? How did it make you feel? Pretty low? Start losing touch with reality? Or full of the joys of spring? I guess it affects us all in different ways. It sent John Martyn into a fit of raging creativity which resulted in this fantastic album, complete with the staggeringly wondrous drumming of an equally distraught Phil Collins. Which is a bit odd.
Martyn's music is pretty moody - "Solid Air" is THE 3 a.m. album. But I've never tried listening to this at 3 a.m. It'd scare the hell out me - I'd be terrified of ex-girlfriends crawling out from under the bed to get me. Martyn faces up to his own demons here only after he's travelled through self-loathing (for the first four tracks) and denial (for the next three - and what tracks!) with his admission "You didn't get it all because I saved some for me...I cheated on the side."
But none of that is very important. What makes this stand out from other "break-up" albums is the the incredible efforts Martyn makes to get just the right sounds for each track. Take, for instance, the incredibly piercing guitars on "Baby Please Come Home", whose notes are like terrible fingers trying to break into the soul; or the crashing cymbals and choppy rhythms of "Looking On", which sound like a mind unable to settle, unable to find any answers to any of the questions asked by the lyrics. If you listened to that at 3 a.m., you wouldn't sleep for a week afterwards. And what about those drums! To hear that sort of sensitivity, you'd never believe this was the same Phil Collins that ruined Genesis. Crazy what a divorce can do for a man!
The three killers come in the middle, beginning with "Sweet Little Mystery" - here the pace slows a little and Martyn makes room for simple sadness; but it's all so exquisitely executed, and so generously lucid, that the listener doesn't take the pain on board, only the sense of hope which comes from hearing a man meeting such pain with such monolithic creativity, and gratitude that he's made such efforts to express that pain so lucidly. It's really like nothing else.
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Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: 9.99

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first time I heard Ali..., 4 May 2004
This review is from: THE SOURCE (Audio CD)
..I had just bought a dodgy green cassette of this in Ghana, and slapped it into my walkman as I began a journey south. If only the music had lasted as long as the rickety bus ride...
More recently The Source has found a permanent home in my car stereo; it seems to be perfect music for journeys. Its forty five minutes transport you further than an F-16. So much is made of Ali's bluesy riffs and licks, but it's the piercing tone of his guitar and the way it mingles with the gritty and windswept tone of the fiddles, and the smooth but grainy texture of the voices which gives it its distant appeal - it's an album of textures simultaneously as rough and as smooth as the Sahara, and every bit as remote.
Those cyclical melodies and clickety-clack rhythms are other trademarks of this part of the world - they can be heard on the music of Tinariwen and Tartit, too. The Source is roots music as it should be, respectful of tradition and playful in its exploration of new forms. A wonderful ride.

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