John Martyn's second live release, Philentropy, is an interesting look back at his career from his transitional period in the early 1970s through 1982's Well Kept Secret. Built largely around electric guitar and synthesizers without even a trace of acoustic instruments, he continues to move even further away from the folk sound of his early days. Along with a tight three-, sometimes four-piece band, Martyn takes this opportunity to use years of experience perfecting his sound to attempt to update these selections from his back catalog. Songs such as "Sunday's Child," "Smiling Stranger" and "Root Love" seem to reach fruition in this setting and soar above their previous incarnations, while "I Don't Wanna Know" and "Make No Mistake" retain the passion of the original recordings. Philentropy, which may put off fans of his earlier work, isn't just a typical rehashing of past work in a live setting, but more a completion of a journey.
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AllMusic Review by Brett Hartenbach