John Martyn, with every album, perfects sounding like himself. I don't mean to be cryptic with such statement but, rather, to pay the man a complement and vow my respect for his craft. Whether it is bluesy "get down" like "Baby Come Home" or some delightful Pop-Folk like "under The Wind" -backed by Paul Weller- John Martyn's voice is the welcomed sound of a man at peace with himself, at least as far as his musical identity is concerned. Specially, upon the loss of his leg to some ungodly cyst, it is wonderful to hear that he's back in the studio, still delivering quality, soulful material. There may not be many surprises here, no experimenting with new forms, yet the songs will not disappoint anyone who knows what the man has done. I consider this album a joyful assertion of a style honed over thirty-plus years of worshipping his own musical gods. "Cobbles" and "Ghosts" are great examples of this. Then, there are probably "the" songs of this CD, "My Creator," as far as amalgating the essential elements of Martyn's sound. Jazzy horns, Danny Thompson masterful bass, and that voice that, once you heard once, it is hard to live without. And "Go Down Easy" where syllables are suspended over the sinuous rhythm base, in a unforgettable way. To finish things off, he gives a very respectable version of "Goodnight Irene," sharing vocal with the great Mavis Staples. As you might have already ascertained, John Martyn is one of those people who I admired profoundly, which is not to say that I think that this album is a classic. That, it is not, yet it can belong to anyone's collection, without any apologies being necessary.
From the heavily Scots accented count in at the beginning of the album, to the superb emotional duet with Mavis Staples, this includes all the great JM trademarks; humour, emotion; gruffness; tenderness; smoke; whiskey.... as another writer said, great late night music. Witness the sublime jazzy sax driven'My Creator' and the fabulous acoustic groove of 'One for the Road' This is the Sound of John taking his time, 'going down easy' to make one of the most sublime 'songwriter albums of this Millenium. Unlike the patchy work of recent 'craftsmen' Neil Young and Bob Dylan, this is flawless. Great songs, great playing, great album. Strangely John never played much of this live, and having spoken with his Bass player, Alan Thompson, who siad that he thought this wasn't one of John's favourite albums...Can't think why!! For me it is easily on a par with his greatest work, Solid Air and One World!