Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
John and Beverley's grand last hurrah.
James M. Shertzer | Winston-Salem, NC USA | 07/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been huge fan of this album -- and the Martyns' "Stormbringer" -- since I first received review copies nearly 30 years ago. The folky Scottish/British couple, in an edgy marriage, was bought to the US and holed up at Woodstock at the time, working with and forging friendships with American musicians, including members of The Band and their proteges. Warner/Reprise thought they'd make a successful duo in America, but the recordings, though ravishing, never caught on. The Martyns' edgy marriage soon fell apart, Beverley dropped out of sight and John, well, moved on, increasingly drawn to the blues and jazz end of the music spectrum. I've almost always loved John's music, have most of his recordings and, when I shared a drink with him once, I found him as unpredictable and charmingly off-center in person as he is musically. But these two American recordings capture something VERY special...a moment when a wondrous, folky but sincere innocence was still in flower (in tunes like "Parcels," "New Day" and "Tree Green") and the canker of cynicism was only beginning to be evident in the biting, tongue-in-cheek of "John the Baptist" and jazzy, devil-may-care worldiness of "Road of the Ruin." John and Beverley songs are separately performed on both albums. John's material has lost nothing, and hers, I think, may have improved with time. Though the drug references are a little passe, her voice remains mesmerizingly unique. The CD remastering is very good, as full and spacious as the analogue version, with no annoying brittleness."
Classic from the Martyns
howzat | 04/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Road To Ruin (1970.), John and Beverley Martyn's second studio album
'The Road To Ruin', John and Beverley Martyn's second studio album, released in 1970 was the follow up to the couple's excellent alternative folk-jazz styled debut album released earlier that year. Many listeners think of John Martyn, the solo artist but reality is that before that, he and his wife Beverley put together two excellent and often overlooked albums. These ultimately kick-started John Martyn's career and allowed him to be more noticed when he began his solo work.
'The Road To Ruin' is quite simply a brilliant album from start to finish. John Martyn himself didn't think this album was as good as their first effort, saying it lacked spontaneity but in my opinion, this album is far superior to their Stormbringer debut. Aside from being husband and wife, John and Beverley Martyn were an excellent match as musicians too. Beverley Martyn has a brilliant voice, it has a unique flow to it. Sadly she never really did any solo work herself after this - her voice is so, so underrated. John Martyn himself is an excellent musician. His guitar playing is first rate, as are his jazzy performances on the piano. His singing on this album is much clearer than in later works where he adopts a more drawling style. There's great incorporation of other instruments on the album such as the saxophone which works very well. Also, the backing musicians which feature in part on this album were those who were to form the nucleus of John Martyn's solo work instrumentation.
The 9 tracks on the album are an excellent mix of folk and jazz styles. 'Primrose Hill' opens with a great piano sequence before Beverley sings the lyrics serenely, with the saxophone cleverly intertwined into her words. 'Parcels' has a style to it which would characterise much of John Martyn's later work, with his characterful acoustic guitar playing. 'Auntie Aviator' is a 6 minute masterpiece and in my opinion is the best on the album. Beverley Martyn sings about flying through the sky and you literally feel as though you are when you listen to it. 'New Day' makes a relaxing acoustic track with a great flute charcterising the track, John Martyn sings this one. 'Give Us A Ring' is much more mellow in its style but it has a great chorus to it with John and Beverley harmonising. 'Sorry to be so long' is much more upbeat with a real jazzy style and is followed by 'Tree Green', more reflective where John Martyn sings about time passing by. 'Say What You Can' is another jazzy track, with a killer piano part and plenty of vocals with real presence from Beverley. 'Road To Ruin' is a great finisher. John Martyn starts this one off very thoughtfully but it progresses in a much more brighter section with a great climax.
'The Road To Ruin' is a classic which many people will not be simply aware of. Its a shame the couple couldn't do any more albums but sadly pressure from John's record company for him to go solo, his drug addiction and subsequent divorce from Beverley prevented this. This is a great album which will not disappoint you - its really relaxing to listen to after a long, hard day."
Some Gems Not Available Elswhere
Jeff Sampson | 09/09/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This recording is not easy to get- it took three months for delivery, but it contains four John Martyn tunes that are real gems, worth the wait and premium price if you are a JM fan. I have several of his recordings, including the anthology, and this recording appears to be the sole source these songs. Personally, Beverly just does not do it for me; I find her voice rather unmusical."