|Studio album by John Martyn|
|Recorded||December 1972, Basing Street Studios and Sound Techniques|
|Producer||John Martyn, John Wood|
|John Martyn chronology|
Contemporary reviews were favourable with music paper Sounds declaring that Solid Air flows beautifully and shows the entire spectrum of music that John Martyn has at his fingertips." The album has continued to receive acclaim and is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery. The album was rated as the 67th Greatest British Album Ever by the British music magazine Q, and was also included in their list of Best Chill-Out Albums Of All Time.
"Solid Air", the title track, was dedicated to a friend of Martyn's, Nick Drake. Drake died of an antidepressant overdose 18 months after the album was released. Martyn said of the track "It was done for a friend of mine, and it was done right with very clear motives, and I'm very pleased with it, for varying reasons. It has got a very simple message, but you'll have to work that one out for yourself."
"May You Never" became something of a signature song for Martyn, becoming a staple of his live performances. Released in November 1971 as a single in an early form, the song was re-recorded during the Solid Air sessions. Eric Clapton covered "May You Never" on his 1977 album Slowhand. When Martyn was presented with a lifetime achievement award by Phil Collins (a collaborator of Martyn's) at the 2008 BBC Folk Awards, Clapton sent a message saying that he was "so far ahead of everything else it was inconceivable" and acknowledged the extent of his influence on "everyone who ever heard him." Martyn and his band, including John Paul Jones on mandolin, played "May You Never" and "Over The Hill" at the Awards Ceremony.
A double CD reissue curated by John Hillarby was released in 2009, including several alternate studio and live versions.
The album cover is an example of schlieren photography demonstrating the 'solid' nature of air.
All tracks composed by John Martyn except where indicated.
- "Solid Air" – 5:46
- "Over the Hill" – 2:51
- "Don't Want to Know" – 3:01
- "I'd Rather Be the Devil" (Skip James) – 6:19
- "Go Down Easy" – 3:36
- "Dreams by the Sea" – 3:18
- "May You Never" – 3:43
- "The Man in the Station" – 2:54
- "The Easy Blues" – 3:22
- "I'd Rather Be the Devil" (Recorded live in 1975)
2009 Deluxe Edition Track listing
Disc 1 (Remastered Original Album)
- "Solid Air"
- "Over the Hill"
- "Don't Want to Know"
- "I'd Rather Be the Devil"
- "Go Down Easy"
- "Dreams by the Sea"
- "May You Never"
- "The Man in the Station"
- "The Easy Blues/Gentle Blues"
Disc 2 (Outtakes, Demos and Live recordings)
- "Solid Air" (Alternative Take)
- "Over the Hill" (Alternative Take)
- "Don't Want to Know" (Alternative Take)
- "I'd Rather Be the Devil" (Alternative Take)
- "Go Down Easy" (Alternative Take)
- "Dreams by the Sea" (Alternative Take)
- "May You Never" (Alternative Take)
- "The Man in the Station" (Alternative Take)
- "The Easy Blues/Gentle Blues" (Alternative Take)
- "Keep On"
- "When It's Dark"
- "In the Evening"
- "May You Never" (Single Version)
- "The Easy Blues" (Live)
- "May You Never" (Live)
- "I'd Rather Be the Devil" (Live)
- John Martyn – vocals, acoustic & electric guitar; synthesizer on "The Easy Blues"
- Richard Thompson – guitar, violin, autoharp; mandolin on "Over the Hill"
- Simon Nicol – mandolin, violin; autoharp on "Over the Hill"
- Sue Draheim – violin on "Over the Hill"
- Tony Coe – saxophone on "Dreams by the Sea" & "Solid Air"
- John "Rabbit" Bundrick – acoustic & electric piano, organ, clavinet
- Tristan Fry – vibraphone on "Solid Air"
- Danny Thompson – acoustic bass
- Dave Pegg – bass
- Dave Mattacks – drums
- Neemoi "Speedy" Acquaye – congas
- Solid Air at AllMusic