John Martyn

And Live...

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Taken from a 1996 concert -- the '90s saw Martyn produce some of his most inspired work in two decades, along with some absolute dross -- this has many of the usual Martyn cohorts onboard, such as Alan Thompson and Spencer Cozens. Within the overall Martyn canon (and old concerts seem to be popping up thick and fast), it's best categorized only as fair, lacking the inspiration of the '70s, when he truly was a champion. The bonus cuts from 1986 don't fare too much better, again veering toward the middle of the road. There's some solid material, like "Big Muff," "Couldn't Love You More," and the classic "Solid Air," with strong vocal performances and occasionally some crackling guitar work, especially on the five cuts from And..., which have the trip-hop feel of the studio versions, but decidedly watered-down (perhaps for Martyn's older audience). It's impossible to call it great, especially if you deify the older material, but it's definitely better than the stuff he was releasing earlier in the '90s; this at least has some passion and kick, even if a few tracks might have been better left on the floor.

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