A Review of the Martyn Joseph CD
"Whoever It Was That Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home"


"Whoever It Was That Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home"
by Martyn Joseph

Copyright 2004
Appleseed Records
P.O. Box 2593
West Chester, PA 19380
ph: (610)701-5755
http://www.appleseedrec.com
mailto:info@appleseedrec.com
http://www.martynjoseph.com

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 4/04
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
http://www.kevindmccarthy.com/music/index.html
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Martyn Joseph is both Old and New Testament--able to deliver equal parts fire and brimstone AND mindful reflections on the human and the spiritual. Sometimes within the same song.

He primarily takes the latter path here but attaches a couple of songs at CD's end that up the political and sociological ante. Attach being the key word as "The Great American Novel" and "The Good In Me Is Dead'" were not included on the CD in its original U.K. version. But these two cuts from previous releases actually give unfamiliar listeners, as most in the U.S. will be, a more well-rounded sense of Joseph's musical persona.

The first add-on, "The Great American Novel," written by Larry Norman in the 70's, shreds elements of American society's hypocrisy. A sample:
"... you kill a black man at midnight
just for talking to your daughter
then you make his wife your mistress
and you leave her without water
and the sheet you wear upon your face
is the sheet your children sleep on..."
Seen from the viewpoint of a Kosovan refugee searching for his family, the second extra, "The Good In Me Is Dead," features a soul numbed by both his losses and horrific situation. With a reference to CNN in the song, this particular holocaust, or at least parts of it, is televised to equally but differently numbed television viewers.

The opening song, "Love Is," is a tender riff on the many facets and capacities of amour. It has an intriguing rhythm that picks up force and speed as it rolls along.

"Every Little Sign" depicts a tentative couple, possibly on the rebound but possibly not. Joseph sings:
"...I want to bless your heart with magic
And give you all you're due
I want you to have your radiance back
I want to fill your glass anew
To turn our blank verse conversation
Into sentences that rhyme..."
Joseph offers a tribute to 'older' women, what he calls 'the invisible,' with "This Being Woman." The touching chorus:
"...This being woman
Being old
Invisible, and unsaid gold
Still sensuous with mystery
The silk of
Who you've yet to be..."
The gentle title cut "Whoever It Was That Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home" seems a bit of a mystery. The protagonist is wobbling about in life but still seeking some sort of guidance:
"...I'm trying to work out what it is I should be
A dented saint searching for some sanctuary..."
Passion is a key word in anything to do with the musical Joseph. For one moment, he is waltzing along in a song's midst and then explodes into full flame, with a fervency that compels a listener's attention. His clear and commanding vocals provoke listening.

Compared by some to elements of both Phil Ochs and Bruce Springsteen, it would be fascinating to hear the results if Martyn Joseph had at it with a few of the American protest songs from the Vietnam era. Sadly, the content would still be far too often applicable today. But this is not to infer that this release is sloppy seconds. The full spectrum of Martyn Joseph is on display here, from love to war, and it is a fine introduction.

Joseph, on vocals, guitar and harmonica, is backed by Phil Beer on guitar, mandolin and fiddle; Nigel Hopkins on piano and keyboards; Harry Napier on cello; and Amy Wadge on backing vocals.

Track List:

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