Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Martyn Shivers

Murph's post about serendipity and how it's preferable to WOMAD old Peter Gabriel advising us on what we should be listening to made me think: what if I were looking for a new artist to listen to based on what I am currently listening to? I am currently listening to John Martyn.

I'd never sat down and listened to John Martyn until I saw his fantastic performance on the Old Grey Whistle test programme last month. Someone who I'd previously dismissed as an old folkie suddenly became essential. In the same way that I used to assume Elliott Smith was just another shit Americana bollocks artist when in fact he is not Americana at all, John Martyn is not really folk.

So I'm listeninng to John Martyn. Now what else might I like?

Let's consult bloggers' favourite music site, Come on, last, give me something new.

On their similar artists' list (based on overall listening habits) there is a 100% chance I will like Fairport Convention. I don't actually mind them so I'll give them that one. But they're not new to me.

Mmm...Bert Jansch 99%, Roy Harper 94%. Maybe I should be growing a beard after all. Maybe I ought to give these folkies a chance. Let's go down the list a little...

Joni Mitchell 78%, Neil Young 72%. Yes, I love them. But they're not new to me.

Paul Weller 61%, John & Beverley Martyn 57%.

Eh? Come on, people. If you've got some John Martyn albums you've gotta get the classic ones he made with his ex-wife. And stop bloody listening to that prick Weller. looks pretty good to me. You can sample songs by any artist you like the look of. You can network with other music fans. I would have loved this 20 years ago. 20 years ago we went on our own, we stood on our own, we left on our own. And our bedrooms were not places to socialise.

But this similar artists section really is a load of old guff. If I were to connect John Martyn with anyone in my record collection it would be Arthur Russell and possibly Massive Attack (since they seem to have got their whole sound from John's album One World). They're nowhere on the list. Maybe I'm just too way out. Maybe I should put Arthur Russell into the similar artists search.

That's better. It's alright, I feel like I'm amongst friends now. They're probably all intellectuals, but at least they're not all middle aged beardies.

Mine's a pint of Old Peculiar.


  1. Geoff - You are 'Old Peculiar'

    I'll shut up now and let all the music gurus have their say.

  2. I like, but I'm not too sure about it's algorithms or whatever.

    What do you think of miserable-git-second-most-famous-muslim-convert-after-cat-stevens-folkie Richard Thompson?

    He made some miserable records with his ex-wife.

  3. Paul Weller always reminds me of a Joe Orton play. "Prick up your Ears".

    Richard Thompson is the meister ...unless you need cheering up of course.

  4. Kaz - I should really be pumped full of London Pride, though I'm really more of an Old Peculiar man.

    Billy/Murph - I used to really like Richard Thompson - he's the best guitarist I've seen live (yes even better than Mark Knopfler and Steve Howe). Now his voice grates on me a bit and I can't listen to him singing.

  5. Lots of yesses there, Geoff. Have a listen again to the R2 folk awards this week and get some ideas. I quite like Richard Thompson's singing though. Kate Rusby's voice turns all my internal organs to mush and I'm not sure why. The Hours did a session on Janice Long's programme last night and they were quite good.

  6. I've bought a lot of records just because I liked the cover. Some of them were even quite good.

    Serendipity is best, though. I heard Tift Merritt playing a session on Whispering Bob Harris' programme on Radio 2. I'd only switched it on because I'd been stuck in traffic for two hours and I was sick of Five Live and The Archers were on Radio 4. She's about as "country" as Aretha Franklin, but Bob had her on his show anyway. No way in a million years would Amazon or Last have recommended her, based on my apparent taste.

  7. If Geoff starts to listen to Radio 2 at home, I'm filing for divorce!

  8. That Joe Orton play, the last word is an anagram apparently. Took me far too long to work that out.

  9. Richard - Those folkies won't get me alive.

    Rob - Amazon are hopeless for recommendations. It's usually stuff I've already got.

    Betty - If I start listening to Radio 2 it'll mean I've finally grown up. And we don't want that, do we?

    Billy - Reminds me of the Style Council video for Long Hot Summer. Those naughty boys.

  10. Prick up your sear? It doesn't make any sense!

  11. Does living with my mum and dad at 46 (albeit only temporarily) mean I've not grown up yet?

    The worst thing about R2 is that I keep tuning away from it but then keep going back. If Gideon Coe and Danny Baker (yes, guilty pleasure) did all the programmes on the other stations, I might consider changing.