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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Martyn (1948 - 2009) An Epitaph
It's hard to believe (and painful to realise) that one
man's music can have been around in my life for
more than forty years and that now he is gone.

Together with Joni Mitchell this formidable singer/songwriter's albums
have formed a hugely important part of the musical soundtrack to my life.

That one day he would no longer be there...
Published on 31 Jan 2009 by The Wolf

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars work in progress
This is an intiguing CD and shows how quickly John developed over the first few albums of his career. There are definite signs of a developing guitar technique with altered tunings and an aggressive picking style moving the story on from London Converation. Lyrically it is still immature with rather twee rhymes and throw away lyrics but a few signs of the radical shift...
Published on 29 April 2012 by CStoney


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Martyn (1948 - 2009) An Epitaph, 31 Jan 2009
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Tumbler (Audio CD)
It's hard to believe (and painful to realise) that one
man's music can have been around in my life for
more than forty years and that now he is gone.

Together with Joni Mitchell this formidable singer/songwriter's albums
have formed a hugely important part of the musical soundtrack to my life.

That one day he would no longer be there was inevitable.
His was a life lived hard and lived mostly well .

Never a man to compromise. He plowed a deep and singular furrow
across the terrain of our musical consciousness.

A rich example of all that it might be to be a man
both in love with and at odds with the world.

That unique voice together with his irascible, unpredictable and larger-than-life
personality are preserved in a veritable treasure trove of superlative recordings.

There are many who hold up 'Solid Air' (1973) as his finest hour.
I have a strong affection for the mid-career project 'Glorious Fool' (1981).

The album I have chosen to accompany these inadequate reflections,
however, is Mr Martyn's second release 'The Tumbler' (1968).

There is a freshness and creative verve in these twelve songs
which belie his tender years.

The guitar technique is never anything less than prodigous.
The folk roots are barely contained by his raucous imagination.
The voice has not yet settled down into the familiar raw and ragged
textures of its later incarnation. Here it is a much lighter instrument
infused with whimsy, optimism, good humour and not a little sunshine.

Mr McNair (Flute), Mr Moses (Bass) and Mr Wheeler (Guitar)
contribute unobtrusively and sympathetically to the project.

It's hard to pick stand-out tracks when every last one is a winner.

'Dusty', as the first of Mr Martyn's songs I ever heard will forever
inhabit a small and special space in my heart.
The breathy, jazzy flute compliments the vocal performance perfectly.

Taken by itself this small composition contains the seeds of almost
everything which was to follow.

His legacy is inestimable.

Goodbye John and Thankyou.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plucking good stuff, 28 July 2003
By 
D. Carter "dunnyphat" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Tumbler (Audio CD)
Ignore the review giving this album just 1 out of 5. Any album that contains a tune as mind-blowing as Seven Black Roses cannot be ranked so low (some of the plucking is unbelievable!). It also contains another classic in The Gardeners, which has a darkness similar to that of some of Nick Drake's songs. Admittedly it is twee in parts and some songs haven't dated well, but I still enjoy playing it and find John Martyn's first three or four albums to be a lot more accessible and melodic than his later stuff.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plucking Good, 26 July 2003
By 
D. Carter "dunnyphat" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Tumbler (Audio CD)
I felt compelled to write a short review of this album after seeing that some fool had given it 1 out of 5. Seven Black Roses, the last track on the album is an absolute corker for starters and has some of the best folk guitar playing I've ever heard. The Gardeners is also excellent, with a dark and brooding atmosphere that has your neck hairs standing on end (similar to Nick Drake's Black Eyed Dog, without being quite so depressing!). I'll admit that at times some songs do sound slightly twee in sentiment and a bit dated, but it is still a great folk album that I frequently play and enjoy.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early classic from a master., 10 Dec 2006
This review is from: The Tumbler (Audio CD)
This is John Martyn's second album, recorded in 1968 when the folk/rock boom was nearing its height. Immediately the album kicks off with 'Sing A Song Of Summer' and John displays his lightening fast guitar picking skills learnt from Davy Graham. Other highlights include 'Goin Down To Memphis' with its wonderful slide guitar sections. 'Dusty' and 'Fishin Blues' also impress, anyone used to Martyn's more gruff sounding jazzy voice from 'Solid Air' onwards as I was will get a bit of a shock here. No slurred or moaned vocals, but a crisp clear young folk voice. At around 30 mins in length, this is a brief experience but it should please both fans of the current crop of acoustic guitar singing wannabees and guitar nuts who can try and work out the dizzying finger picking/slide and strum style of Martyn. The best from his early period, but there was even better to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tumbler, 8 Jun 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Tumbler (Audio CD)
Having first heard "Dusty" on an Island sampler album circa 69 I was determined to hear more from what appeared to be a unique talent. I bought the "Tumbler" as soon as pocket money allowed and was not disappointed. I literally played it to death for a few years and then having purchased further Martyn albums "Tumbler" was sadly neglected. I then moved on to other things and Martyn for my sins was forgotten.
However, Radio 2 recently played some John Martyn songs and my memory was pricked. I bought this album for nostalgic reasons and although some of the tracks sound definately 60s it is still a great example of a master at work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars work in progress, 29 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Tumbler (Audio CD)
This is an intiguing CD and shows how quickly John developed over the first few albums of his career. There are definite signs of a developing guitar technique with altered tunings and an aggressive picking style moving the story on from London Converation. Lyrically it is still immature with rather twee rhymes and throw away lyrics but a few signs of the radical shift that came with Bless the Weather start to show through. The flute is all over the songs and for me begins to irritate and ruin the feel of the songs. Overall interesting for me as one who loves John's work as it shows where he came from but probably not essential to those who came to John later in his career and expect the Solid Air songwriter to be fully formed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars john martyn in the beginning, 16 July 2011
By 
This review is from: The Tumbler (Audio CD)
heard this years ago and loved it as a teenager, but only found out who the artist was recently. am looking forward to discovering the rest of john martyn's music. RIP JM.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars should be pulled from under the pile and put on top, 27 Jan 2008
By 
Graham Coxon (london) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Tumbler (Audio CD)
i am new to this record but by no means new to great pickin guitarists and blues singers and folkies such as davey graham, the jansch, john renborn etc... i am rather shocked and angry that i didnt own this album a good 20 years ago. its absolutley fantastic. it reaLLy haS EVERYTHING... wry humour verging on the darkest humour..."the gardeners"...absolutely mind boggling picking/guitar work..a beautiful tone in the voice...nicely simply recorded...the flute can seem twee at times but...it was 1968..but at least theres no beatnik throttling a sitar.
i agree all around with the others here. "seven black roses" is phenomanal....excuse my spelling i am too excited...the picking so fast and staunchly rhythmic that, solid i mean, that he does the job of a drummer... and ithink no one before him or since has really pushed the accoustic guitar so bravely in the direction john pushed it here..the whole album has a twisted joy about it. i love it. its very straight up. non of the frilly production and jazzy bussiness of his later stuff. very inspirational.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tumbler, 18 Sep 2009
This review is from: The Tumbler (Audio CD)
I am so old that I bought this album when it first appeared, having seen John at Swindon Folk Club and been wowed at his ability. Learned to play 7 Black Roses, but never with his agility.
For me, Song of Summer, and Roses, were the whole deal! I accept that 'Gardener' was part of a developing future, but I didn't like the electrified version of John as much as the exuberant folk singer I had seen.
Taken in isolation, this is a great album. packed with talent in composition and ability.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johns best folk albumn, 25 Feb 2004
This review is from: The Tumbler (Audio CD)
For those who dont know, way back when before he learned to drink, slur and play the blues John Martyn had a realy clear boreing voice and occationaly sang some very dodgy lyrics. That admition though shouldnt put you off this albumn, particularly if your a guitarist, there realy is some beutiful fingerpicking going on here, some of his best infact. The production (done by Al Stewart) shines out in comparison to london conversation, particularly on tracks like 'Hello Train' and 'the Gardeners' and Al always manages to do Johns amazing guitar work justace.
A must have for fans of Johns Folk days and the place to start for fans of the blues era looking to go folky.
PS: I would have gone for 4 stars but im trying to get the average up over that guy who gave it 1*
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