John Martyn – New Boxed Set – The Island Years

Read about John Martyn’s ‘The Island Years’ boxed set


By Rob Dickens

John Martyn is one of my music heroes.

So word of a new release from Universal Music – The Island Years – is very exciting.

Perhaps the most exhaustive career retrospective from one of Britain’s most original and enduring singer/songwriters. Housed in an LP size hard-back slip case, this lavish box set contains eighteen discs including:

• seventeen CDs featuring twelve key studio albums, recorded for Island between 1967 and 1987, now with previously unreleased mixes, out-takes, unheard songs and two complete, previously unreleased live solo concerts from 1972 and 1977 and the complete demos for The Apprentice, the last album Martyn delivered to Island
• 1 DVD containing rare television performances from the Old Grey Whistle Test, Sight and Sound – In Concert, A Little Night Music and first time on DVD for the VHS release, Foundations!
• A fantastic hard-back book featuring sleeve notes plus rare and previously unseen photographs and extensive memorabilia.

There is a strong selection of previously unreleased alternative takes from Martyn’s career defining 70s albums Stormbringer, The Road To Ruin, Bless The Weather, Solid Air, Inside Out, Sunday’s Child and One World; plus there are extensive outtakes and a number of unreleased songs from Martyn’s 80s Island releases: Grace And Danger, Sapphire and Piece By Piece.

In total, the box set includes five complete discs of previously unreleased or first time on CD recordings and the equivalent of a further three discs of rare, live and unreleased studio material spread across the seventeen discs.

There are also two complete, previously unavailable solo acoustic concerts. The first of these was recorded at The Hanging Lamp, Richmond, in May 1972; the second was recorded at The Town Hall, Sydney, Australia in August 1977. Among the other live recordings, the box set will include the original Live at Leeds from 1975, Martyn’s Rock Goes To College performance at Stirling University in March 1981 and songs from his Glastonbury performance from June 1986, both recorded for the BBC. Among the BBC studio sessions, two previously unreleased tracks from John and Beverley Martyn from 1970 have been found, ‘Traffic Light Lady’ and ‘The Road to Ruin’. The final disc includes over three hours of live footage. This includes John’s appearances on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1973, 1978 and 1981, Sight And Sound In Concert, 1977 and a particularly stunning performance for BBC Bristol’s A Little Night Music in 1981. Plus, an expanded version of the Foundations VHS was recorded at London’s Town & Country Club in 1986.

Full track listing will be available very soon.

This is a strictly limited edition of 2,000 worldwide!

Pre-order at



Read about John Martyn’s ‘The Island Years’ boxed set

Read about John Martyn’s ‘The Island Years’ boxed set


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Author: Rob Dickens

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