him to cast the spell of intimacy his music demands; but even in some of the most unpromising conditions. Martyn can pull it off. sending the unexpected shiver down the spine. the prickle on the back of the neck.

It’s at close quarters. in a club or small theatre that his magic works best. Sending the signal from his guitar through multiple delay pedals. forming cascades ofcleanly plucked notes (you thought the shoegazers invented ‘sonic cathedrals"? Martyn first plugged in an Echoplex in 1971). duetting with the dying echoes of his own voice and stretching the words to the point of obliteration to get to the core of the song.

And then. after some cathartic exorcism. you realise you‘ve been holding your breath for the last the minutes. Meanwhile, Martyn’s back bantering with the audience. sending himself up and telling dreadful jokes. Not a man who likes to be seen to take himself too seriously.

He‘s also a man who’d much rather show you where he is now than where he was. Island Records. who released his work from l971~87, have a new ‘Best Of‘ double-CD in the shops entitled Street Little h’l_\‘Sl(’I‘l(’.\‘, but Martyn had launched his pre-emptive strike two years before: C oultln 'I Love You More, in which he revisited his back catalogue but in an album of entirely new recordings. John Martyn. eh? Has to have the last word first. John Martyn plays Castlemilk Community Centre. Glasgow on Thurs IO and George Square Theatre. Edinburgh on Fri ll.

mm:- Man of steel

Bob Brozman and friends

Bob Brozman is not the kind of guy to i follow the pack. ‘ldiosyncratic’ hardly 1 seems to do justice to a man who has ; dedicated his life to a wonderful

l combination of pre-Ans music, compounded of raw, hard-edged

. country blues, Hawaiian and

;l Caribbean music, and jazz, all played with a dazzling virtuosity and overwhelming energy on one of the

most distinctively American guitars ever made, the National steel guitar.

That shiny, steel-bodied instrument was made around the time of the music which Brennan sings and plays (one of the company’s founders, George Beauchamp, also went on to co-found another classic guitar maker, the Rickenbacker company), and he also has examples of the even rarer steel-bodied National mandolin and ukulele.

‘I first saw a National on the cover of a Johnny Winter album, and I thought it was a pretty cool looking guitar. That eventually took me back into the much earlier classic blues ol Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Skip James, Charley Patton and so on, and that’s where I’ve stayed. The National tends to be used only for blues now, but it originally came out as a Hawaiian guitar, and was used in jazz bands and calypso groups of the period, so what I try to do in my music is to use the instrument for everything it was meant for, not just blues.’

Brozman’s various albums on the Skyranch label give an effective taste of what he does on stage, but there is no substitute for the physicality and immediacy of experiencing his music live, where he believes it is meant to be heard. Do yourself a favour don’t

miss him. (Joe Alexander)

Bob Brozman plays at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh on Fri 4, and the Old Athenaeum in Glasgow on Sat 5.


l i

. «g _ s \‘r‘

It’s musical birthday party time this fortnight. IIot chairs, bumps or even statues, but celebrations of two major living composers, one from England and one from New Zealand, who have both made Scotland their home and workplace. Like Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, 60 this year (see separate panel), Edinburgh resident Lyell Cresswell has reached a special birthday landmark, albeit ten years less than that of Max. In honour of Cresswell’s half-century, a mini- festival featuring a selection of his orchestral, vocal and instrumental music is being held at The Tramway, with two of the concerts being repeated in Edinburgh later in the month. First on is the BBC 880, who have commissioned and performed a number of Cresswell’s orchestral works over the years.

‘A Modern Ecstasy’, premiered as part of Glasgow’s McEwen Festival in 1986 is, at 45 minutes, a substantial work for full symphonic forces. It sits alongside Stravinsky, a composer greatly admired by Cresswell and who

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Fiftot out I

like Ives and Xenakis who appear in the second orchestral programme on Sun 13 has been chosen by Cresswell himself. ‘Ives has always been an important composer for me,’ says Cresswell. ‘At first, it was for the superficial things, like the tunes which were tied up with my own Salvation Army and religious background. Also, being in New Zealand, he was very much an outside figure and someone to look up to.’

Cresswell is also a great devotee of the Greek-born composer Iannis Xenakis. ‘ln music, I feel I’m looking for the combination of intellect and emotion and that’s what you find in Xenakis. It’s disciplined but quite wild at the same time.’ As a description, that would sum up quite neatly some of Cresswell’s own music. Hear it for yourself at The Tramway from the BBC SSG, ECAT and the Chamber Group of Scotland. (Carol Main)

The Cresswell Concert Series runs from Thurs 10—Sun 13 at The Tramway, Glasgow.


With the evolution of M8 into a full-fledged dance- bible. the demise of Ter created an obvious gap for a Scottish rock publication, a gap which from November, higwig magazine hopes to plug.

The brainchild of music journalist Lyn McNicol and radio presenter Thea Newcomb, with partial funding from Glasgow District Council. bigwig has been welcomed by a Scottish music fraternity in search of a possible mouthpiece a point evinced by a roster of first-issue contributors that includes The Herald's David Belcher. Ewan McLeod from Scottish Television’s Chartbite. Sound City’s John Williamson and Horse McDonald from the group Horse. Says McNicol. ‘They’ve all written for nothing and they’re all busy people I mean, Horse was writing from the studio in the middle of doing vocals for her next album. People seem desperate for it, and they want to support it all the way.‘

Along with established names, the magazine plans to encourage new writers and, similarly, has a policy of featuring demo reviews alongside write- ups of ‘real’ records rather than shunting them off to a demo page’ ghetto. One of the most interesting features boasted in the first issue is painter Adrian Wiszniewski‘s visual review of the debut album from Baby Chaos. Wiszniewski picked the record from a pile which included albums by Bad Religion and, bizarrely, Gloria Estefan. and since his involvement. several other artists have expressed an interest in ‘reviewing‘ for future editions.

Another proposed regular feature is the higwig playmate of the month. ‘Naked with Bible’ across the centre pages for the launch edition is David from The Hurnpff Family. and Newcomb and McNicol are currently seeking a female subject for issue £2. Rose McDowall. where are you? (Damien Love) higlr'ig is available front Fri 4 from RS Mc‘Coll 's and 7ower Records, price


The List 4—17 November I994 33