On Saturday the 8th of June 1996 Lou Martin came over to our home in South London to share a meal, enjoy a drink, listen to some blues records and kick around some musical ideas which would eventually form part of our album "Happy Home".
While Linda cooked a meal, Lou sat down at her Roland piano and began to play. I plugged it straight in to our 80s stereo system (old enough to have a couple of mike inputs), put a blank cassette in the tray and pressed record. I also plugged my Danelectro guitar directly into the other input.
Lou started with some solo piano boogie and after a while I joined in. We played some blues and boogie, old favourite tunes. Lou was pretty sure of the sequences, while I fumbled around looking for the right chords. I probably sang a bit - mercifully there was no mike plugged in. I expect there was some laughter and a glass or two of red wine consumed. After a while I dropped out, and Lou finished off with some of his favourite folk and classical pieces.
It's just a cassette recording, and in places there's some annoying flutter which I can't get rid of. At least I've managed to get the tape running at roughly the right speed so the songs are in pitch.
Lou plays a mixture of songs, some of which are recognizable, but which invariably morph into something else, often an indefinable Lou Martinised version of what would have been a well known tune. I didn't want to put the tracks up for sale on iTunes etc.. I would have no idea who to pay the songwriting royalties to!
So it's here for you for free. My friend Lou died of bowel cancer. He had already had a debilitating stroke which would have been more than enough for most people. However he dealt with his problems stoically and enjoyed his music, blues and classics to the end. If you do download these tracks you might consider making a small donation to a charity of your choice on Lou's behalf... I would suggest Macmillan Cancer Support www.macmillan.org.uk as a good one.
My listening suggestion.. put the album on quietly in the background, or maybe in another room, and you can have Lou Martin tinkling away in your own home. I hope you enjoy it, even the dodgy bits. You'll learn something about Lou's extraordinary talent and personality, and if you have a dry eye by the end of the last track I'll be surprised.
14 September 2012
First released 22 September 2012
Note: If anyone out there has the software which can remove the flutter from the last couple of tracks please let me know. It would be great to hear this beautiful music as it was originally played. firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo from the Alcamo Summer Blues Festival, Sicily, by Visco Salvino.
For Lou Martin 12.08.1949 - 17.08.2012