John Martyn: One World Alternate Format Discography

Alternate Format Discography

The way you remember this record may have much to do with the version you first picked up. On CD, you'll first hear 'Dealer', yet the original vinyl release [ILPS 9492] opened with 'Couldn't Love You More'. This latter song makes for a record that eases the listener from familiar territory into the left-field. Yet this should have been the second side, and in later incarnations, it is.


The singer's official website at reckons it was an error resulting from the album's sleeve art being drawn up before the record was completely finished. Indeed, the master tapes show that the album should have begun with 'Dealer' and ended with 'Small Hours'. Similarly, some pressings of the album have the labels showing side A's tracks as side B's, and/or side A on a darker blue than side B's brighter hue, when the 'sunrise/sunset shading was meant to go the opposite way.

Confused? You will be, because if you bought a copy in North America or Italy, you'd hear the 'US Mix', including an entirely different drum track on 'Big Muff', 'One World' without Martyn's scat-style intro, and slightly different song lengths.

FIRST CD (1990)
This reissue on Compact Disc [Island CID 9492] reverted to the intended running order, but that didn't prevent the track listing on the packaging being different from that on the CD itself. Ye Gods... Anyway, for fans of the new format, this CD's mastering was a strong argument for investment. You could more clearly decipher what the wildlife were saying on 'Small Hours', and the human contributions were better defined too.


When the album received the customary 'deluxe' 2CD overhaul [Island 981 922-2], its first disc featured remastered US mixes of tracks such as 'Dealer', 'Big Muff' and 'Dancing', with the UK mixes included as 'alternate takes' on the second half of a tidy package that certainly delivers on the sound front.


The percussion is more prominent on the US mixes and very different on 'Big Muff', but you get to pick your favourite here, plus sublime live readings from a 1976 show make this a tempting proposition. It's the version found on Spotify should you wish to try before you buy.

Island's 2016 vinyl reissue of One World [Island 478 527-9] is remastered by Greg Moore at Finyl Tweek, whose work has got a convincing thumbs up from LP lovers, even though the original erroneous running order and label shades are reinstated – perhaps to stay faithful to the original LP, faults and all. Then again, considering there are as many Martyn fans who fell in love with this running order as those who insist on the alternative sequencing, maybe just play whichever side you prefer to hear first and go from there...