John & Beverly Martyn - Stormbringer (1970)

John Martyn was a British singer-songwriter and guitarist.

John Martyn's third album was recorded as a collaboration with his wife, Beverly. Though rather than performing as a harmonizing duo (which could have potentially had very successful results), the record was instead split between performances by the two of them, and Beverly just contributed four songs to John's six. So in reality Stormbringer was a John Martyn solo album featuring a few songs written and sung by his wife.
Martyn's sound changed a fair bit from his first two folk-based albums, as Stormbringer was recorded in Woodstock under the musical direction of Paul Harris, and produced by Joe Boyd (then best known for producing The Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention). Harris played piano and keyboards and handled the band and string arrangements. Bass was handled by Harvey Brooks (a seasoned folk-rock session player), and drums were shared by Billy Mundi, Herbie Lovell and Levon Helm. John Simon also appeared at one point on harpsichord.
The result of these different circumstances of recording was that Stormbringer leant much further towards folk-rock than Martyn's earlier records. Half of the songs had full band arrangements, with a big, deep, powerful sound based around acoustic guitar, piano, bass and drums. It would have been very interesting if Martyn had recorded more in this style, as these five songs undeniably had a unique sound all of their own. Elsewhere the album featured harpsichord and string arrangements, so that Martyn's guitar didn't play such an important role,.
Stormbringer was a bit of an anomaly in Martyn's discography, but a very interesting and worthwhile one.

The Tumbler (1968) <|> The Road To Ruin (1970)
More from John Martyn



Anonymous said...

Very nice, thank you!

zappahead said...

Thanks for the John and Beverley Martyn albums....mush appreciated....pity they never did more together but...thanks for the share...cheers.

Unknown said...

a very succinct review