It’s a New World.
A New World.
Now, there’s a baby in the house.
The air is suffused with Love and Wonder and a daily sense that Miracles are all around us.
The Decibel Level sways between the extremes.
In the intermittent pools of perfect Peace there is time for reflection.
You find that your first and second thoughts are no longer about yourself but about the one dreaming those unknown snuffling dreams in the Crib.
You find a certain sense of repose overtakes you.
And, in that blessed state, out of the mysterious mental ether, the melodies and the words flow.
Melodies and words from a man, John Martyn, a musician and miracle worker, who lived ten large and generous lives in his bare three score years :
And may you never lay your head down
Embed from Getty Images
Without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold
Oh, please won’t you, please won’t you
Bear it in mind – Love is a lesson to learn in our time.
The version below, one of the most perfect recordings ever made, comes from John’s Immortal Album, ‘Solid Air’.
The story goes that John, knowing that this was a Song of Songs, felt every take wasn’t just right.
Producer John Wood, a key figure in so many great records, about to master the album, put his foot down – ‘.. For Christ’s sake, John, just go back in the studio and play it again and record it!’
And, so is History made.
May You Never takes up its place as A50 on The Immortal Jukebox.
John Martyn said there was a place between words and music and right there was where his voice lived and breathed.
As for his guitar on this song all I can say is that the mixture of attack and restraint, of power and tenderness has rarely if ever been matched.
Sometimes all the planets and stars are in perfect alignment and the music of the spheres comes through loud and clear.
Loud and clear.
May You Never is a Song I loved with a passion from the first time I heard it over 40 years ago and it has yielded vein after vein of treasure as I have listened to it many hundreds of times as the decades flowed by.
John Martyn, especially in the 1970s, was a sorcerer in live performance.
His Guitar playing achieves a level of duende that goes far beyond technical brilliance – it’s a revelation of the Soul.
Combined with his, ‘Come closer, I’m letting you in to a great secret’ vocals he set up an immensely attractive gravitational force that drew you in and captured your heart and soul.
There can be no denying that John Martyn through his immense appetite for Alcohol and other substances made mighty efforts to sabotage his enormous talents.
Yet, gifts such as he was given, though shadowed are rarely wholly extinguished.
Here’s a performance from his later years showing that the magic could still light up fellow musician and an audience.
In particular I want to draw your attention to the Bass playing of Danny Thompson who was virtually a brother to John Martyn.
When they had a night out on the town, trailing havoc in their wake, it was as if John Wayne and Victor McLaglen had been reincarnated as Master Musicians!
The lines about never losing your temper in a bar room fight were born of deep experience!
But, in the studio or on stage their soul friendship produced music making of the very highest order.
Kathy Mattea and Dobro King Jerry Douglas add diamond decoration.
No wonder he liked that one.
Take it to Church John!
Take it to Church.
All that’s left to say is that I wish my granddaughter and all of you a warm hand to hold and may we all bear in mind that Love is the lesson to learn in our time.
In Memory of John Martyn 1948 to 2009.
I am going to write many more Posts on John Martyn.
For now I would urge you to purchase, ‘Solid Air’ as a matter of urgency