Tribute recordings can only be as strong as the source material they draw from. Johnny Boy Would Love This features a wide range of well- and lesser-known artists interpreting the stellar body of work left behind by the late John Martyn. Martyn’s evocative vocals and the tone of his guitar, often doctored with tape delay, combined to give much of his music a haunting quality, faithfully replicated here on many songs including the Emperors of Wyoming’s take on “Bless the Weather” and Skye Edwards’ (Morcheeba) otherworldly version of the delicate “Solid Air.”
Most artists choose to stay close to Martyn’s original arrangements, but Lisa Hannigan turns “Couldn’t Love You More” into a droning, Celtic dirge, and Robert Smith puts the indelible stamp of the Cure on his version of “Small Hours.” Beck (“Stormbringer”) and Phil Collins (“Tearing and Breaking”) are the biggest names honoring Martyn here, but incredible performances are turned in by all, including Vetiver, Bombay Bicycle Club, Judie Tzuke, Paolo Nutini, David Gray, Clarence Fountain & Sam Butler, Joe Bonamassa and many more, all of which provides the listener with a perfect entrée into the work of this critics’ darling. If you come by this tribute because you want to hear the contribution of Snow Patrol or Sonia Dada, do yourself a favor and pick up any of Martyn’s albums afterwards.
Music: CD Reviews
Johnny Boy Would Love This: A Tribute to John Martyn
Artist: Various Artists
(Hole in the Rain)
By Kevin Wierzbicki
Johnny Boy Would Love This is currently available.
Article posted on 8/17/2011
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