John Martyn, troubadour-songwriter, guitarist, and hard-drinking wildman of of echoplex harmonies, has finally hit that final chord

Of late, John looked like an 80 year old, and sounded like a 90 year old … his years & years of alcohol abuse had fair taken its toll, and I’m not one of those who glamourises the excesses of artists & artistes … I watched some close friends go down that route, and get quite angry at fans who romanticise the “slow-suicide” of their heroes.

John was a stunningly hansome young man, when I knew him, albeit briefly, and I was entranced by his early stuff … particularly in the “SOLID AIR” period of his music

Over the years, I’d occasionally see him, and was always saddened by his gradual demise

Here’s an account of one drunken encounter

John Martyn had the voice of the angels, and a soul seemingly filled with irreconcilable demons … which are now, finally, at rest

Thanx for the good stuff, ma man … I’ll miss you






Two of my favourite fellow Scots, doing what they do best


The indomitable Big John, who got most if not all the whiskey, singing with the ever-wonderful Eddie Reader, and accompanied, as ever, by the melodic bass of Danny Thompson


Many moons ago, I was waiting to do a live BBC radio spot, and was well-thrilled to find that I was sharing the studio space, at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre, with John Martyn, and his band.

Having been a fan for over a decade, I was pleased to find John was great company … this was somewhat enhanced by the fact that he was still totally pissed from the previous night, as he had been drinking non-stop for over 12 hours!!  It was 10.00 am on a Tuesday morning, but to Mr Martyn it was an eternal weekend, or so it seemed.

As we did our rehearsals … me first, then John & the band … and awaited the live broadcast spot which was for 12 noon … the BBC producer, NIGEL … No, really!! … Nigel!!! … Nigel was really starting to annoy John with his wittering & worrying over John’s obviously pissed-drunk condition

Eventually, John threw down his Gibson guitar, swearing and shouting, and stormed offstage with a cry of:

“Fuck You, Nigel!! Me & Stu are out of here!”

Fuck! It was my first ever live-broadcast for the BBC … and I was looking forward to it … but, it was John Martyn!!

And he wanted me to go with him!!!!!

What should I do?

At that, Nigel rushed to my side, and frantically whispered:

“Go with him! And get him back here for transmission time … whatever it takes! Please?”

So … I fukked off after John Martyn … went to a nearby hotel with him, where he was staying, and we drank until it was nearly transmission time!

John then agreed … quite easily … to go back with me to the Tron

We walked in … sorry, I walked in, John staggered in … just as Nigel was pulling the last strands of hair from his trendy pony-tail, in nervous apoplexy …. John walked onstage, picked up his guitar, and proceeded to give an absolutely immaculate performance of “May You Never” … guitar & vocals perfect … absolutely gorgeous!!!!

And I sat stunned, as I watched a legend in action

I’ll always cherish that wee moment


ps I’ll keep my Eddie Reader story for another time