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Farewell, Johnny Too Bad

Stuart Bailie | 14:55 UK time, Thursday, 29 January 2009

I've played plenty of John Martyn on my Friday radio show and will be playing a lot more this week. We all suspected that his illness was severe but he also seemed to have a baseline ferocity that would have carried him over the worst. He passed away this morning. I believe that Nigel Martin will be talking about him tonight on Arts Extra and many fond words will be applied in the coming days. If you have a particular track you'd like to hear on the show, please let me know and we'll try.

JohnMartyn3.jpgI had the honour of presenting him with a lifetime achievement trophy at the Ards Guitar Festival a few years back. His band was in pre-warned so we interrupted his gig at a strategic time to make our homage. John didn't know what was going on and he gave me a look of pure malice. It was terrifying. But when he realised what we were trying to do, his demeanour changed abruptly and he started to weep.

We'll remember the astonishing voice, the heavy songs and the wonderful way he approached the guitar. Long before The Edge and the stadium rockers were messing with digital delay, John Martyn was the man, supremely tuned in. We will remember him thus.


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