John Martyn – Solid Air
I just picked up the blue label copy of John Martyn’s Solid Air. To my understanding, this is the rarer label of the bunch because what I have seen of the island discography is mainly pink or the Island ‘joint’ we will call it. A good find, but at a rather steep price on the Discogs market. The pressing is pristine, matrix no. ILPS 9226 if you are interested in picking up a copy for yourself.
This record is a folksy, jazz record with sweeping notes of the electric guitar and soft acoustic strumming. The vibrations are uplifting and bring your mind to a state of bliss, while also reminding you of the stagnant pain that Martyn deals with. Loneliness is certainly present and accounted for on this record. Especially on the track, “The Man In The Station.” He sings about catching the next train home. For a lot of folk singers, the train, riding the rails symbolized home. Wherever the train was heading – it was hurling you closer to your destination – your destiny.
This album reminds me of themes and how the story unfolds and the beautiful metaphor for life it presents. Life can be lonely and beautiful. When “Solid Air” plays I think about a man who is literally breathing and walking through concrete, his lungs filled with anchors every time he takes a breath because the stress is unbearable
“I know you, I love you/ I will be your friend/ I will follow you anywhere/ Even through solid air.”
This song could be considered a tribute to a good friend of Martyn’s, Nick Drake. Drake suffered from mental illness. A topic I’m too familiar with which has affected my family and friends. It really hit hard for Martyn to watch his friend suffer unable to do anything about it. That’s walking through Solid Air.
John Martyn is one of my all-time favorite artists, and I can’t believe I only just discovered him and I’m happy to have found his work. I have obtained Philentropy and Solid Air, and I can’t wait for my collection of his work to grow and prosper.
Collecting vinyl and tapes analog is a work of art. You are buying a little slice of history. Call it ephemera, but this music is important. You archive these pieces of art into your soul, and they become a part of you. My record collection is etched into the grooves of my heart, and that’s what makes days like today so special. When the mailman shows up with that copy of “Solid Air” which I’ve been waiting for weeks, I come alive.
Go check out “Solid Air.” Omega Rates: 10/10 (our first 10 on Omega Music). R.I.P John and Nick, I can’t even imagine the music in the heavens right now.
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- Rob Moran