- Released: February 1, 1990
- Label: Island
Q - 7/99, p.150
Included in Q's Best Chill-Out Albums of All Time - "...the musical equivalent of a reassuring hug....a quiveringly sexy folk record."
Q - 6/00, p.65Ranked #67
in Q's "100 Greatest British Albums"
Mojo (Publisher) - 4/04, p.143
"[A] sublime proto-chill out record on which the vaunted interplay between Martyn and double bassist Danny Thompson reached its folk-jazz zenith."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.885 stars out of 5
-- "[T]he artist's command of his craft and spirit of experimentation resulted in a jaw-dropping collection..."
Uncut (magazine)5 stars out of 5
- "It includes Martyn's sweetest pop song, 'May You Never,' a lullaby in which optimism triumphs over every possible cause of the blues."
- 1.Solid Air
- 2.Over the Hill
- 3.Don't Want to Know
- 4.I'd Rather Be the Devil
- 5.Go Down Easy
- 6.Dreams by the Sea
- 7.May You Never
- 8.The Man in the Station
- 9.The Easy Blues
- 10.Gentle Blues
Personnel: John Martyn (vocals, acoustic & electric guitar, synthesizer); Richard Thompson (mandolin); Simon Nicol (autoharp); Sue Dranheim (violin); Tony Coe (saxophone); John "Rabbit" Bundrick (acoustic & electric piano, organ, clavinet); Tristan Fry (vibraphone); Danny Thompson (acoustic bass); Dave Pegg (bass); Dave Mattacks (drums); Neemoi "Speedy" Acquaye (congas).
Personnel: John Martyn (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, keyboards, synthesizer); Richard Thompson (guitar, autoharp, mandolin, violin); Simon Nicol (autoharp, mandolin, violin); Sue Draheim (mandolin, violin); Tony Coe (saxophone); John "Rabbit" Bundrick (keyboards); Tristan Fry (vibraphone, percussion); Danny Thompson (double bass); Dave Mattacks (drums); Neemoi Acquaye (percussion).
Recording information: Island; Sound Techniques Studios.
Photographer: Brian Cooke.
Unknown Contributor Role: Simon Nicol.
He began as a folksy minstrel but seemed drawn to experimental, free form improvisation. Solid Air is where John Martyn's love affair with effects and echoplex became serious. The title track, dedicated to his close friend Nick Drake, became a eulogy, while the breezy "Over The Hill"--one of the greatest songs ever written about a train journey--is a feathery delight. "May You Never" and "Don't Want To Know" continued the simple, stoned ballad approach, although it is his interpretation of Skip James' "I'd Rather Be The Devil," totally reshaped with hypnotic shifts, tidal echoes, and a slurred growl, which broods over the whole album. A record that remains Martyn's youthful zenith.