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Mad Dog Days

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Album Review

A three-disc box set (two CDs and a DVD), Mad Dog Days is a spotty, seemingly random compilation of live and studio recordings. A rehash of John Martyn's late-'70s and '80s live recordings previously released by the Voiceprint and Artful labels, larded with four studio tracks from 1993's No Little Boy (itself a collection of re-recordings of older material with guest spots from famous fans Phil Collins and David Gilmour), there is no rare material here for the avid collector, and newcomers would not be well served by this mishmash of minor live tracks and remakes that includes none of the singer/songwriter's most essential work. However, just to make the package attractive for fans, the DVD is an utterly charming July 2003 interview (recorded in a pub, appropriately enough) in which Martyn, in failing health but fine spirits, looks over his career with quiet pride and good humor. This hourlong disc is almost worth the budget-line price of the set by itself, which is good, because the CDs themselves don't do Martyn many favors.


Born: 11 September 1948 in New Malden, Surrey, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Singer/songwriter/guitarist John Martyn was born Iain David McGeachy on September 11, 1948, in New Malden, Surrey, and raised in Glasgow by his grandmother. He began his innovative and expansive career at the age of 17 with a style influenced by American blues artists such as Robert Johnson and Skip James, the traditional music of his homeland, and the eclectic folk of Davey Graham (Graham remained an influence and idol of Martyn's throughout his career). With the aid of his mentor, traditional singer...
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