Various artists - Johnny Boy Would Love This . . . A Tribute to John Martyn
Mixed bag of cover versions from Robert Smith, Beck and Vashti Bunyan
(Hole in the Rain/Liason)
However affectionate a tribute album, they can still make you wish classic songs, like historic buildings, could somehow be listed to preserve their original splendour. Case in point on this set dedicated to late, great folk and jazz man John Martyn: Snow Patrol’s demolition of ‘May You Never’. ‘Shall we strive to protect its understatement and intimacy?’ you can practically hear Gary Lightbody consider. ‘Sod that – string section.’
The rest ranges from play-it-safe (John Smith’s ‘Walk to the Water’) to vanilla (two tracks by Morcheeba – really?) to plain WTF? (Phil Collins). But a few geniuses ride to the rescue – Robert Smith with a moody electronic transformation of ‘Small Hours’, Beck with a super-cool take on ‘Stormbringer’ and Vashti Bunyan with a gorgeous, cotton-gloved handling of ‘Head and Heart’. Johnny Boy would definitely have loved that.