AN INSPIRED VERSION of one of John Martyn’s greatest tracks – I’d Rather Be The Devil – recorded live at the Hanging Lamp club, Richmond, in May 1972, debuts below. The track, culled from the latter stages of the show, performed in the crypt below St Elizabeth’s Church off Richmond Hill, showcases Martyn’s mesmerising, recently minted style of electric guitar playing, marshalling billowing fugues with his Echoplex effects unit, building on exploratory work on Glistening Glyndebourne off 1971’s Bless The Weather album.
I’d Rather Be The Devil, a dramatic reworking of a Skip James blues tune, Devil Got My Woman, previews its eventual inclusion, nearly a year later, on the landmark Solid Air album, released in February 1973.
The Hanging Lamp gig recording is included in full on a separate CD in the multi-disc box set Island Records are to release on September 30, and features versions of May You Never, Bless The Weather and live favourite Singin’ In The Rain. It’s a welcome reminder of Martyn’s easy charm, charisma and unpredictable performance ethic.
The recording is also to be released independently of the box set on 180gm vinyl.
Full tracklisting as follows…
SIDE A The Easy Blues Bless The Weather May You Never Don’t Think Twice Back To Stay Head And Heart
SIDE B Singin’ In The Rain Sugar Lump I’d Rather Be The Devil Outside In The Glory Of Love