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Simon sez: hard to picture me with an acoustic guitar.
I bet that's what his hard Glasgae mates said to John Martyn - or, to give him the name he was born with (I was recently delighted to find out): Iain David McGeachy (! - and hey, what's a spare "i" between fellow Scots? And the parallels dont stop there ... cos he was actually born, like me, in England...)
Watching that BBC4 series on Folk music the other week it struck me how 'out there' and fresh his mid-70s stuff still sounds. (A lot of it written - as it happens - in the very place I was recuperating/idling recently - Hastings.) And why so few people have taken up the wah-wah phase--loop gauntlet he threw down...? Why is so much - of even the 'nu' - folk, so strait laced? Dirty tales - but delivered in too-clean a sonic envelope for my tasste, a lot of the time ...

I remember a decade ago or something, writing about Martyn (and Cale and Coyne and Drake and others) in The Wire, drawing a parallel (I think it was this article) between Martyn's warp-graffiti'd scatter folk.. and the then preffered drink of Glasgow dossers: ELECTRIC SOUP. (Sweet sherry with meths added.) Electric soup still seems like a grand phrase for what he did to the folk song... something earthy and hearthly and homely and 'heimlich' - stoked and stonked and rippled up... turned in on itself till it bursts...

BTW1: anyone notice that Vashti Bunyan's 'Another Diamond Day' has cropped up as the muzik for some awful advert on TV? In the name of sweet Nuit - how quickly underground trend passes into garish mainstream banner these days...

BTW2: all this talk about Prog etc. Has anyone re listened to Wigwam? I no longer have any of their work... but I remember having a massive fondness for it, and was wondering how it now stood up...?

posted by Ian 3/20/2006 08:32:00 PM

Ian, when & where was the last time you saw'n'heard John Martyn live? & how was it??
I heard Wigwam on this show on BBc6 Music the other week called the Freak Zone (horrible title), and they sounded really fresh, kind of Canny, almost dubby, lots of spaces (like J Martyn), almost early DAF/Mute even. I know Julian Cope likes them and I seem to remember you reviewing them in the NME circa 1978 (God I'm old)
You can find Ian's Wigwam review from '79 here: http://members.surfeu.fi/mmerilai/wigwam/bibliography/penman_nme210779.htm
Back in the day, did you ever write for the named-after-a-Duul-track UK fanzine "A Short Stop at the transylvanian brain surgery"...?
You can also get some of their songs on i tunes etc. As I said, I'm really old, so I think my nurse might have overdone my afternoon tamazepam 'n' acid dose when I said they sound like early Mute or DAF. On closer inspection they are NOTHING like them! Incidentally, did you know the great Kim Fowley originally tried to set them up as the Finnish Beatles?!
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