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John Martyn. (Courtesy of the artist)

John Martyn On Mountain Stage

Feb 1, 2013

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Singer, songwriter and guitarist John Martyn made his first and only Mountain Stage appearance on Sept. 26, 1993. A highly influential figure on the 1970s British folk and progressive rock scene and beyond, Martyn had songs recorded by everyone from Eric Clapton to Beth Orton, and counted Pink Floyd's David Gilmour as one of his biggest fans. The title cut from his 1973 breakout album Solid Air was written for his close friend Nick Drake. His soulful, slippery vocals are often compared to those of Paul Brady and Richard Thompson — but more importantly, Martyn's rhythmic, "string slapping" fingerstyle guitar technique is widely imitated to this day.

As his career progressed, Martyn — who died in January 2009 — reinvented himself as an electric guitarist, and was one of the first to pair his instrument with an Echoplex. Martyn performed four songs on Mountain Stage, including "May You Never" — which was famously covered on Clapton's Slowhand album — and his breakthrough "Solid Air."

This Mountain Stage performance was originally published on May 25, 2012.

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  • "Jelly Roll Baker"
  • "May You Never"
  • "Big Muff"
  • "Solid Air"

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