I've been having some conversations with my British colleagues about the precise level of greatness of this man - "oh have you heard this?" "do you know this one?" - your basic music geekery praise showering and careful historicizing, tracing the discography and genealogy of influence. Not to reduce those chats in any way, I love them, was that not evident?
But I think I am reducing these conversations about the late Mr. Martyn to a type, and that isn't fair to their subject, who was and continues to be a figure that draws a singular sort of response. A "legend," sure, but there's something that sets him apart, maybe tied up in the ineffability of those Echoplex'd soundscapes he churns out with seemingly such little effort, as at the very end of this album ("Call Me Crazy," to be followed up several years later by the incredible "Some People are Crazy"). "He makes it look easy," a friend said, and maybe that's a place to start with John Martyn - it's difficult to separate the man and his expression, his incomparable stage banter, his grumpy yet teddy-bear-like persona... hence the cultivation of a certain myth (BTW - if you want to get a great taste of this personality I'm referring to, check out the Bullion/Allday John Martyn mix over at Test Pressing, the stage banter interludes and the little essay make it well worth your while alone).
This is one I hadn't heard until today, but I've been listening to it on repeat on a suitably slow-moving Sunday morning/afternoon. I suggest you do the same, any day of the week will do.