Knight On the Road

Knight On the Road
Martin Best
EMI Records EMC 3185 (LP)


    Side One

  1. American Dream (Martin Best / Benjamin Barber)
  2. Cambric Shirt / The Elfin Knight (trad. arr. Martin Best)
  3. Love Death (Martin Best / Benjamin Barber)
  4. Banks of the Ohio (trad. arr. Martin Best)
  5. Close Up the Gate (Martin Best / Benjamin Barber)
  6. Yesterday (John Lennon / Paul McCartney)

    Side Two

  1. Knight on the Road (Martin Best / Benjamin Barber)
  2. Peace of My Mind (Martin Best)
  3. City is a Woman (Martin Best / Benjamin Barber)
  4. Weary Man (Martin Best / Benjamin Barber)
  5. Two Ravens (trad. arr. Martin Best)
  6. Ballad of the Dead Man (Martin Best / Stevie Smith)

Martin Best (singer, acoustic guitar 12-string guitar, lute, psaltery)
Paul Keogh, Julian Byzantine, Daryl Runswick, Barry Morgan, Gerry Butler, Derek Austin, Barry de Sousa, Alastair McLachlan, Les Thatcher, Hughie Burns, David Mason, Patricia Clarke and Kay Garner (singers)
Arrangements by Nick Ingman, Martin Best

Released 1977

Out of print, not reissued on CD.

An odd detour in Martin's oeuvre, using amplified instruments to create a pop/rock texture which sits uneasily with his trained voice. Some of the music, however, is quite extraordinary, particularly 'Knight on the Road', the moving 'Weary Man', and Martin's setting of Stevie Smith's poem 'Ballad of the Dead Man'. Benjamin Barber's lyrics fluctuate wildly in quality: at their best they are informed by a true poetic presence, while at other times they sound forced and awkward. All that said, there is often an intensity and depth of feeling in this recording which ultimately justifies its brave attempt to create a modern setting for the troubadour sensibility.

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Rob Smyth