- Released: July 7, 1998
- Label: Thirsty Ear
Mojo (Publisher) - 4/04, p.143
"[I]ts spare arrangements help emphasize Martyn's skills as impressionistic interpreter."
- 1.He's Got All the Whiskey
- 2.God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)
- 3.How Fortunate the Man with None
- 4.Small Town Talk
- 5.Excuse Me Mister
- 6.Strange Fruit
- 7.The Sky Is Crying
- 8.Glory Box
- 9.Feel So Bad
- 10.Death Don't Have No Mercy
THE CHURCH WITH ONE BELL is album of cover tunes by the veteran British singer-songwriter.
Personnel: John Martyn (vocals, guitar); Spencer Cozens (piano, keyboards); John Giblin (bass); Arran Ahmun (drums, percussion).
Personnel: John Martyn (vocals, guitar); Spencer Cozens (piano, keyboards); Arran Ahmun (drums, percussion).
Recording information: Ca Va Sound Studios, Glasgow, Scotland.
Photographer: Lawrence Watson.
John Martyn, who is best known for the folk/jazz/rock albums he made in the mid-1970s, has recorded his share of cover tunes over the course of his career. 1998's THE CHURCH WITH ONE BELL was a departure, however, in that it consisted solely of other people's material. You couldn't ask for a more diverse group of tunes either; while there are the expected blues and jazz standards (songs associated with Billie Holiday, Elmore James, and Rev. Gary Davis), Martyn also tackles two songs by obscure New Orleans pop/R&B songwriter Bobby Charles, Portishead's "Glory Box," and the Brecht-via-Dead Can Dance "How Fortunate the Man With None," among others. All across this wide spectrum of songs, Martyn lays down his deep, rich, booze-soaked voice, all the more expressive for the nooks and crannies it gained over the years, turning each track into a lovably lazy swim through agreeably swampy waters. Somehow, when Martyn applies his trademark Joe Cocker-on-depressants approach to this disparate group of tunes, they all seem of a piece. The consistency of vision is what helps make CHURCH WITH ONE BELL one of Martyn's finest records since his '70s heyday.