Bless the Weather
Though his earlier albums had merit, John Martyn truly came into his own with 1971’s Bless the Weather. The bittersweet grace of “Go Easy,” “Back Down the River,” and “Head and Heart” showcase Martyn’s agile folk-blues guitar touch as well as his delicate vocal shadings and sparse lyric style. A brooding Celtic atmosphere hangs over these tracks, reflected in the mellow fatalism of the title tune and the regretful yet accepting outlook of “Let the Good Things Come.” Whatever the feelings expressed, the music here moves with a remarkable fluidity, propelled by Martyn’s pulsing six-string rhythms and Danny Thompson’s supple acoustic bass work. “Sugar Lump” adds some lowdown bluesy swagger, while the instrumental “Glistening Glyndebourne” introduces the jazz-rock strain that would be fleshed out on later Martyn releases. An acoustic rendering of “Singin’ in the Rain” closes things with a lighthearted flourish. Bless the Weather was later overshadowed by its celebrated follow-up, Solid Air, but by any standard, this album is an outstanding, subtly haunting work, as well as a turning point in Martyn’s now-legendary career.