The death of John Martyn last week got me reminiscing about the times that I had the pleasure to see the man and my wife reminded me of the time he played at a local hotel as part of the line up for a short lived TV show either on Channel 4 or STV can’t remember which or even what the show was called. What I do remember was that it was hosted by Stuart Cosgrove, one time head of programming for Channel 4 and one half of radio Scotland’s Off The Ball team, “the most petty and ill-informed football show on the radio”.
The guests on this programme ranged from legends like John Martyn and Desmond Dekker to knobheads like Pat Kane in his Armani socialist days as part of Hue and Cry.
Andy White was on the same night as John Martyn, two great singer songwriters for the price of one. Although during the filming we also had to endure the horrid Frank Carson, who at one point said to White that he could tell that he came from the North as he could smell the Semtex.
Andy White was born and brought up in Belfast and released his first ep Religious Persuasion in 1985 followed by the excellent album Rave On Andy White his first of 13 so far. I can’t tell you what the rest are like as I only bought Rave On but after revisiting the album at the weekend, some thing I have done quite a few times over the years I have been wondering why I didn’t buy anything else as the debut album is excellent. It is at times a commentary on the situation in White’s native isle (Religious Persuasion, The Soldiers Sash ) and at others concerns itself with those universal topics of love and loss (Rembrandt Hat, Visions of Blue). At the time I think that he was described as the new Irish Dylan then again what earnest young man with a guitar hasn’t been tagged as a ” new Dylan”.