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MARTYN WYNDHAM-READ - Tunes To Poems To Songs 

MARTYN WYNDHAM-READ - Tunes To Poems To Songs 
Private Label 

During his 50-year career Martyn has never been much of a songwriter, but he has often been inspired by poems and set them to music. Most of these songs will be familiar to readers. Two kinds of people buy songbooks. There are those who know the songs and seek a definitive version so they can learn them. For those who are unfamiliar, there may be an extra step reading notation. Martyn had help from Sue and Tom Evans in transcribing the songs for publication. I’ll bet a pound to a pinch of snuff they are keyboard players! Every bedroom guitarist knows that you don’t play a song containing the ‘chord from hell!’ (B Flat since you ask). You use a capo and work out simpler chord shapes to make the song playable and singable (as does Martyn himself). Similarly, for those with only basic skills in notation, you can be faced with key signatures with four sharps and melodies that can be intimidating. Maybe I’m being over-critical. I used the dots to get a feel for the tunes and then worked out the best key for my voice and instrument. I had several hours of fun and ended up learning some new songs in Martyn’s typical ‘bush’ style which I will now enjoy singing. Isn’t that what a songbook is for? The book is beautifully put together with artwork by Martyn’s wife, Danni, and has other illustrations by Tony Sambrook. You can buy from the website in paper or e-book format and it is well worth it.

Philip Thomas


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine