Helen Temperley
Illustration & Design

Winkin Bitsy


Mad Martins

Mad Martins is a unique performance, recording and book project featuring original songs, poetry and spoken word narration depicting the extraordinary lives and times of the notorious Martin brothers, William, Johnathan and John, who were born in the late Eighteenth Century in the South Tyne area of Northumberland.

The project is the brainchild of Poet and Narrator Keith Armstrong and Musical Director and Songwriter Gary Miller.

Mad Martins comes in a gorgeous deluxe book-format packaging, including approximately 100 pages featuring lyrics to all 50 tracks, additional interlinking text, a host of beautiful pictures and illustrations throughout, as well as a comprehensive list of credits and acknowledgements. This wonderful and unique presentation, designed and illustrated by Helen Temperley has been a true 'labour of love' and is a fascinating and real work of art in its own right.

Includes unlimited streaming of Mad Martins via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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Mad Martins depicts the extraordinary lives and times of the notorious Martin brothers, William, Jonathan and John, who were born in the late Eighteenth Century in the South Tyne area of Northumberland.

Eldest brother, William was the self-styled ‘Natural Philosopher and Philosophical Conqueror of All Nations’, a doggerel poet, pamphleteer, engraver and inventor. Like his younger brothers, he aspired to be ‘Renaissance Man’ and aimed for the ‘defeat of learned humbugs’.

Jonathan Martin has gone down in history as ‘the notorious incendiary’ of York Minster. Frequent fits of rage against the clergy, including a plot to assassinate the Bishop of Oxford led to his committal to several lunatic asylums, from which he escaped twice before setting fire to York Minster in 1829, for which he was again committed to bedlam, where he later died.

Youngest brother, John, the eminent painter, engraver, town-planner and host, was, like his brother William, an 'all-rounder', devising sewage schemes for London, along with a number of other inventions but is most famous for his epic New Romantic paintings of Biblical scenes. One of these, 'Pandemonium', based on Milton's 'End Of The World, sold in 2003 for a record £1.65 million.
released April 30, 2017

Learn more about the Mad Martins project from the official website

Performed by:

Songs: -
Gary Miller - Lead & Backing Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, standard & octave Mandolins, occasional Electric Guitar, Bouzouki, assorted traditional & invented Percussion
Iain Petrie – numerous Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Piano, Keyboards, Ukeleles, Glockenspiel, Bass, Drums, assorted traditional & invented Percussion, Backing Vocals, Harmonies, Programming, Orchestral Arrangements, etc…

Poems and spoken word pieces: -
Keith Armstrong - Voice (Poetry Recitation, Narration)
Richard Doran – Bouzouki, Dulcimer
Glenn Miller - Accordion
Mick Tyas - Mandolin
Ann Sessoms - Northumbrian Pipes
Iain Petrie - Additional Keyboards, Programming & Effects

Guest Lead Vocalists: -
Mick Tyas - Lead Vocals on 'The Dandy Horse' and ‘In The Navy’ (plus Backing Vocals on ‘The Leaping Swordsman’, ‘Shoot The Bishop!’, ‘Four Bare Walls‘, ‘Escape’, ‘A Painting For Charles’)
Marie Tucker - Lead Vocal on ‘Maria’s Testimony’
Karen Ross - Lead Vocal Duet with Gary on ‘A Thin Veneer’
Sylvia Doran - Lead Vocal on ‘Wicked Old World' (plus Backing Vocals on 'Three Mad Martins (Prophecy)')

Additional Guest Musicians: -
Jennie Beasty - Fiddle on ‘The Leaping Swordsman’, ‘Maria’s Testimony’ and ‘Shoot The Bishop!’
Trevor Kinsel - Trumpet on 'Medals'
Frank Meadley - Bodhran on 'In The Navy'
Glenn Miller - Accordion on 'Three Mad Martins (Prophecy)', ‘The Leaping Swordsman’, ‘The Dandy Horse’, ‘In The Navy’, ‘Shoot The Bishop!’
Mick Tyas - Mandolin & Percussion on 'In The Navy', Harmonica on 'A Painting For Charles'

Additional Guest Vocalists: -
Tamsin Davidson - Backing Vocals on ‘God And Air’
Anna Emmins - Backing Vocals on ‘God And Air’
Barbara Petrie (R.I.P.) - Harmony Vocals on ‘Shoot The Bishop!’

'The Press-ganged and Beleaguered Crew of The Good Ship Hercules' (Richard Doran, 'Glasgow' Jimmy, Frank Meadley, Gary Miller and Iain Petrie; ably led by 'Captain' Mick Tyas) - Backing Vocals, plus various shouts, "heave-ho's", hoots, hollers and hearty howls on 'In The Navy'

The Albert Ness Ensemble - Orchestration on 'In My Hands'
The Lick Spittals - Horns

Title & Initial Project Concept by Keith Armstrong

Musical Direction by Gary Miller

All songs arranged by Gary Miller & Iain Petrie
All accordion tunes arranged by Glenn Miller
All mandolin, dulcimer/bouzouki tunes arranged by Richard Doran & Mick Tyas
All northumbrian pipe tunes arranged by Ann Sessoms

Recorded at 'Awake Music!' Studios in Berwick-upon-Tweed & Spittal during 2013-14, with additional 'field' recordings using the 'Awake Music!' mobile studio at The Bridge Hotel, Newcsatle-upon-Tyne on 11th December 2014.

Produced, Engineered and Mixed by Iain Petrie
Awake Music: www.awakemusic.co.uk

Mastered by Garry Boyle at Slate Room Studio, Pencaitland, April 2015

Original artwork, design & layout by Helen Temperley at Winking Bitsy:

Interlinking text written and compiled by Keith Armstrong and Gary Miller
Typesetting by Gary Miller

Selected Bibliography / Further Reading:

Adams, Max (2009), The Firebringers (later published 2010 as The Prometheans). London, Quercus.

Aylmer, G.E. & Cant, Reginald (1977). A History of York Minster. Oxford University Press.

Balston, Thomas (1945), The Life of Jonathan Martin: Incendiary of York Minster (with some account of William and Richard Martin). London, MacMillan & Co. Ltd.

Balston, Thomas (1947), John Martin. London, Duckworth.

Dickens, Charles (1866), All the Year Round: A Weekly Journal (Volume 16). London, Chapman & Hall.

Johnstone, Christopher (1974), John Martin. London, Academy Editions.

Jones, Keith & Shepherd, Richard & Hampson, Louise (2008). York Minster - A Living Legacy. Third Millenium Publishing Union.

Martin, Jonathan (1826), The Life of Jonathan Martin, of Darlington, Tanner, Written by Himself. Barnard Castle: 2nd edition.

Martin, Jonathan (1829), The Life of Jonathan Martin the Incendiary of York Minster, Written by Himself. Leeds, Robinson, Hermann & Woods: 6th edition.

Martin, Jonathan (1829), The Life of Jonathan Martin, Written by Himself. USA, Nabu Press: Print on Demand 2012.

Martin, William, (1821), William Martin's Challenge to All the World as a Philosopher & Critic, on the Principles of Perpetual Motion. Newcastle upon Tyne: 2nd edition.

Martin, William (1827). A New Philosophical Poem Book, Called The Northumberland Bard, or The Downfall of All False Philosophy. Newcastle upon Tyne, Thomas Blagburn.

Myrone, Martin, (2011), John Martin: Apocalypse. London, Tate Publishing.

Myrone, Martin (ed.), (2011), John Martin: Sketches of My Life. London, Tate Publishing.

Peacock, A.J. (ed.), York History No.2. York, J. Farr & Son.

Pendered, Mary Lucy (1923), John Martin, Painter: His Life And Times. London, Hurst & Blackett.

Feaver, W (1975), The Art of John Martin. Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Martin, William, (1832), The Defeat of Learned Humbugs and the Downfall of All False Philosophers. Wallsend.

Martin, William, (1833), A Short Outline of the Philosopher's Life from being a Child in Frocks to the Present Day after the Defeat of all Imposters, False Philosophers since the Creation. Newcastle upon Tyne.

Further information:

Mad Martins:
The World of John Martin: www.wojm.org.uk/today/mad.htm

Keith Armstrong:

Gary Miller:

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