Reviewed by Steve Best
A sister release to 1989's sublime 'An Aching And A Longing', this sees MJ's songs in an intimate acoustic surrounding with, for the most part, just the keyboards of Nigel Hopkins to accompany Martin's guitar. Essentially, three periods are represented here, in a superbly designed package. There are two cuts with backing band from Greenbelt 1992, two from a 1993 show, while the rest were recorded in 2000. Of course, when songs are stripped down to the bare essentials such as they are here, the quality - or lack of - really shines through, as they must stand up on their own. With Martyn Joseph, there are no such worries as the material is of such a high calibre that it doesn't matter what accompaniment it has. Nor does it matter that the odd guitar-tuning anomaly has been left in. Martyn's not afraid to do it, because at the end of the day, you just don't notice it amongst the passion. Classics such as "Dolphins Make Me Cry", "An Aching And A Longing", the hauntingly beautiful "Have An Angel Walk With Her", "Please Sir" and a lengthy "Don't Talk About Love", complete with an extended mid-song rant about ordinary people turning the world upside down and putting other people first, are given even more depth by the totally committed delivery; check out the emotion and grit in "Working Mother". If you are a fan of the art of songwriting, these days an increasing rarity, this is essential and the most exciting thing is that, being Volume 1, you know there's more to come.
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