Dave Martin

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Bonus tracks that have been added onto the Spirits Known and Unknown reissue raise questions concerning vocalist Leon Thomas, other than the usual "Why does he have to yodel?" The original 1969 album,…
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Bonus tracks that have been added onto the Spirits Known and Unknown reissue raise questions concerning vocalist Leon Thomas, other than the usual "Why does he have to yodel?" The original 1969 album, Thomas' debut effort under his own name, featured a tight group of expanded size in which several rhythm instruments were doubled. A 2002 CD reissue of the project unusually added bonus tracks from a 1958 recording session and that's where arranger and conductor Dave Martin came in, literally. At this imagined point of entrance he was in charge of at least 14 other musicians involved in these sessions. Martin's arrangement involved a brass section interestingly dominated by trombones, a small blend of reeds and a set of electric guitarists.

This is not the same artist known variably as Dave Martin or David Martin who also arranged and conducted in addition to writing songs. While certainly an appreciated avant-garde jazz as well as blues singer, Thomas was apparently not convincing enough at this early date to inspire any massive outpourings of praise from the critical choir on the basis of these early recordings being discovered and released. In turn, no retrospective gravitas has been granted to this arranger, unless getting mixed up with a guy who wrote songs for Barry Manilow counts.