One World

One World

by John MartynJohn Martyn


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After Sunday's Child, John Martyn took an extended break from studio recording. By late 1975, feeling he was close to going "completely round the bend," he had also stopped touring. To put some distance between himself and the pressures of the business and to recoup his creative energies, he went to Jamaica. There, after meeting dub producer Lee "Scratch" Perry, Martyn sat in on sessions by other artists and contributed to Burning Spear's Man in the Hills. Martyn returned to the U.K. reinvigorated and began recording One World in summer 1977. Produced by Island boss Chris Blackwell and featuring Dave Pegg, Morris Pert, John Stevens, Danny Thompson, and Steve Winwood, among others, One World combines the experimental tendencies of 1973's Inside Out and the more conventional song structures of Sunday's Child. While tracks like "Couldn't Love You More," "Smiling Stranger," and "Certain Surprise" display some continuity with the rootsy, jazzy folk-rock of Martyn's previous albums, this record has a stronger commercial feel than his earlier work, crossing over into pop territory. Especially memorable in that regard is the electrified swagger of "Big Muff," a number co-written by Perry that would become one of Martyn's live staples. But One World's understated explorations of mood are even more compelling; the experimental nature of dub -- of which Perry was a legendary exponent -- clearly resonated with Martyn. Since the early '70s, he had displayed a keen ear for sonic manipulation, using effects like Echoplex and a phase shifter to craft drifting, hypnotic textures. Here, the lazy title track and the synth-pulsing "Small Hours" exemplify Martyn's knack for mesmerizing, smoky grooves. Those looser, atmospheric numbers notwithstanding, most of One World signals the more slick pop direction John Martyn would take in the '80s starting with Grace & Danger (and with increasingly mixed results). [In 2005, Island released a Deluxe Edition of One World that included five live tracks and 10 alternate versions of songs from the initial release.]

Product Details

Release Date: 09/09/2008
Label: Universal I.S.
UPC: 0042284255523
catalogNumber: 8425552
Rank: 9676

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Martyn   Primary Artist,Guitar,Harmonica,Keyboards,Vocals
John Field   Flute
Steve Winwood   Organ,Bass,Keyboards,Electric Piano,Moog Synthesizer,Musician
John Stevens   Drums
Dave Pegg   Bass,Musician
Rico   Trombone,Musician
Jon Field   Flute,Musician
Tristan Fry   Percussion
George Lee   Saxophone,Musician
Neil Murray   Bass,Musician
Andy Newmark   Drums,Musician
Morris Pert   Percussion,Musician
Harry Robinson   Strings
Hansford Rowe   Bass,Musician
Bruce Rowland   Drums
Bruce Rowlands   Drums,Musician
Kesh Sathie   Tabla,Musician
Danny Thompson   Bass,Musician
Rico Rodriguez   Trombone
Jon Stevens   Drums,Musician
Tristran Fry   Musician

Technical Credits

John Martyn   Composer
Robert Ash   Engineer
Chris Blackwell   Producer
Lee "Scratch" Perry   Composer
Harry Robinson   String Arrangements
Frank Owen   Engineer
Tony Wright   Artwork
Phill Brown   Engineer

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