The Phoenix And The Turtle
Beverly Martyn’s first album in 14 years is often so achingly raw it is like being given a tool for excavating her soul. The recording quality makes it seem that she is seated right beside you, wishing, lamenting and confessing in your ear.
It begins with the previously unrecorded Reckless Jane, which she was co-writing with Nick Drake when he died. Its sadness falls about you as softly as a fine mist, the guitars beautifully embroidered with strings. Here, as elsewhere, when her 67-year-old voice strains to reach an occasional note, it somehow merely compounds the impact. Nighttime and Levee Breaks are reminiscent of the material she contributed to the two classic early-’70s albums she made as co-leader with her then husband, John Martyn. Since she last recorded he has died, of course, and Women & Malt Whisky harks back to the mad, reckless lifestyle that made that genius impossible to live with. Throughout the guitar/bass/drums accompaniment is kept simple enough not to cloud the compelling in-your-ear intimacy and immediacy