JOHN MARTYN ‘The Island Years’ 18 Disc Box Set

We don’t normally run straight press releases here but this is just too tempting. It’s not too long to Christmas after all and finding this in your stocking would be a tremendous present.

‘The Island Years’
18 Disc Box Set
Universal Music September 30th 2013

The Island Years box set is the most definitive collection celebrating John Martyn’s glory days on the Island Records label, beginning in 1967 with London Conversation and going all the way up to the last album he recorded for the label, The Apprentice in 1987.

The release date has now been confirmed as September 30th and the tracking listing has also been finalised and appears below.

This lavishly packaged box set contains 17 Audio CDs housed in 2 gatefold LP size holders and 1 DVD in a gatefold wallet and a120-Page hardcover book with brand new essay by John Martyn guru, John Hillarby, plus rare and previously unseen photographs.

Rare memorabilia also contained in the box set includes a reproduction of the 1978 Australian tour programme, a replica of the highly sought after 1980 UK tour poster and an Island Records Press folder containing A4 Press Release, A5 Flyers and a reproduction of one of John’s hand-written set list.

John Martyn’s Island Records recordings are presented in chronological order.

Disc One
London Conversation from 1967 and The Tumbler from 1968.

Disc Two
John and Beverley Martyn’s Stormbringer! from 1970, plus previously unreleased out-takes and demos and BBC sessions tracks.

Disc Three
John and Beverley Martyn’s final album, The Road To Ruin from 1970 now with alternate and unreleased takes.

Disc Four
Bless The Weather, John’s 3rd solo album from 1971 and contains 8 previously unreleased alternate-takes from the recording sessions.

Disc Five
Live at the Hanging Lamp. This is a real find in the form of a completely unreleased live solo concert recorded at the legendry Hanging Lamp folk club in Richmond. Recorded on 8th May 1972 it finds John running through songs from Bless The Weather and road testing songs from Solid Air. This is a fascinating historical document that showcases John getting to grips with his newly acquired Echoplex effects machine.

Disc Six
John’s seminal Solid Air from 1973 now with additional tracks and features 9 bonus songs – which have never been on CD before – and previously unreleased alternates.

Disc Seven
1973’s Inside Out, now with additional unreleased alternate-takes and BBC Radio session.

Disc Eight
The original version of the Live at Leeds album from 1975 plus live recordings from the London Palladium in March 1986 Glastonbury Festival in June 1986 that appear on CD for the first time.

Disc Nine
John’s 1975 album, Sunday’s Child with unreleased alternate-takes and BBC radio recording. Also included is a rare outing for John when he contributed guitar and vocals on John Stevens’ Away single, Anni Part 1 and Part 2 which make it onto CD for the first time.

Disc Ten
Another previously unreleased 10 track solo concert recorded Live in Sydney in August 1977 that finds John on absolutely blistering form.

Discs 11 and 12
Feature the original UK mix of One World from 1977 now with 15 previously unreleased alternate takes spread over the 2 discs plus the ultra-rare extended remix of Big Muff which John Martyn co-wrote and performed with reggae legend, Lee “Scratch” Perry and Anna the title track to the 1978 Australian movie.

Discs 13 and 14
Feature the 1980 album, Grace and Danger which John recorded with the help of his friend Phil Collins. There are a total of 12 previously unreleased alternate-takes including the never before heard cover-version of High Heal Sneakers and an untitled instrumental. Also present are the 7” dub version of Johnny Too Bad plus 7 songs recorded live for various BBC television programmes and at the London Palladium.

Disc Fifteen
1984’s album, Sapphire, which now boasts a previously unreleased song, Love In Your Life plus 6 songs recorded with and mixed by Andy Lydon, but never actually used.

Disc Sixteen
Piece By Piece, released in 1986 now comes expanded previously unreleased alternate-takes and 2 rare radio adverts for the album.

Disc Seventeen
Features John’s final album for Island, The Apprentice which was delivered to Island in 1987 but never released. Although the tracks finally saw the light of day in 1990 these earlier recordings have been sat in the archive since delivery and contain the previously unreleased song, Lifeline. Also included are songs recorded live at the Town and Country Club in London that same year, plus a rare performance of Patterns In The Rain recorded live at the Island Records Birthday Party in July 1988.

Disc Eighteen
This is a DVD that contains many rare BBC performances from the Old Grey Whistle Test, Sight and Sound – In Concert and A Little Night Music plus for the first time on DVD the 1986 VHS release of Foundations which captures John and his band live at the Town and Country, London.

Extra Special bonus features on the DVD are 3 ultra-rare songs which John performed after the credits rolled at the end of the concert recorded in January 1978 for The Old Grey Whistle Test plus 5 songs which didn’t make it on to the original Foundations VHS.

Mouthwateringly tempting, the full tracklist is available to see at the John Martyn website and you can pre order it here. Warning, it’s not cheap but it equates to less than a tenner for each disc and you get the assorted paraphernalia. As for that “ultra rare” extended remix of Big Muff I’m pretty sure I have that on a 12″ single which I’m going to hunt for.


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