"Cooltide" was Martyn's 2nd album for Permanent Records and was issued to a largely indifferent public on 9 September 1991. Its long, funky and often soulful tracks were mature - and I loved it from the moment I heard "Hole In The Rain" and the hypnotically magical "Jack The Lad". "Cooltide" was unfortunately also typical of so many Martyn LPs in the 80's and 90's - superb in places and dull-as-dishwater in others. But my God, when he was good, he was untouchable. And of course - he had and still has - that voice - sexy and soothing at one and the same time. A wonder in itself.
This 2007 reissue on his own 'One World Records' adds four bonus tracks to the original 9 - first up are the two exclusive mixes that came on the April 1992 CD single for "Jack The Lad" - an extremely hard to find item nowadays - and finally two previously unreleased live tracks from the tour of 1991. As luck would have it, they're kicking live versions of the best songs on the album, "Hole In The Rain" and "Jack The Lad". "Jack The Lad" is good, but not great - "Hole In The Rain" however is fantastic. It's uses a slightly different and yet better synth fill as he sings - and there's a superb guitar solo too. This is an absolute must for Martyn fans. His live albums are often peppered with brilliance like this and this version is right up there (check out his superb re-working of 1975's "Sunday's Child" on the live album "Philanthropy" from 1983).
But the best news is the SOUND. The original CD - even though it was 1991 - was always underwhelming - especially on tracks like the lovely "Call Me" and "The Cure" - and of course the gorgeous "Jack The Lad". Well this DALLAS SIMPSON remaster is about twice as good - not overbearing - but now imbibed with the muscle the music always needed. It's a treat to finally hear this great little album given the sonic upgrade it's always deserved. A job well done.
"Cooltide" is a John Martyn album you need to rediscover - check out "Jack The Lad" on iTunes - you'll be hooked.
PS: One World Records is the label imprint by VOICEPRINT of the UK dedicated to John Martyn's work. It features remastered reissues of his albums along with newly discovered titles from the archives. Titles so far include:
1. "The Apprentice" from 1990, his 1st album in the UK on Permanent Records, it's original 11 CD tracks have had 5 Live Bonus Tracks Added (2007 release) 2. "Couldn't Love You More" from 1992, an album of 15 excellent re-recordings of his Island Label stuff, now remastered with two bonus tracks added (2007 release) 3. "No Little Boy" from 1993, an album of 14 re-recordings covering his career from 1970 up to 1991, now remastered with 2 bonus tracks (2008 release) 4. "One World Records Sampler CD", 14 Tracks, 1 of which is an exclusive live version of "Amsterdam" recorded in Oxford, October 1982 (available online only) (2008 release) 5. "Live", a new set with 20 tracks across 2CDs (2008 release)
I've bought "The Apprentice" and it's excellent too - much improved sound.
PPS: "The Simmer Dim" is John Martyn's new album and is due Monday, 9 June 2008
If you do not love this CD then check your pulse. Another brilliant album from John Martyn. The voice of an angel and the attitude of a little devil. Leave on replay for a week or two to fully appreciate its depth and quality.
Classic Martyn album from his later years. Some really good tracks. The album grows on you. Often the individual tracks develop as they go along. You need to sit down and listen properly to the songs from start to finish without skipping from one to another to appreciate this album fully. I am not sure if the sound quality is much different to the original release. I found the sounds just a bit flat, but this is no reflection on the music. The vinyl issue can be had on the second-hand market, but for some reason tend to be really crackly. If you like Martyn, you have to have it in your collection.