Jon Prell’s Where Are They Now? – Martin Delray
People ask me all the time about artists they haven’t heard from in a long time. Last week, we looked at Larry Boone and this week, someone asked me about Martin Delray, who seem to disappear as quickly as he emerged in 1991. Delray was born Michael Ray Martin in Texarkana, Arkansas in 1949. He moved to Nashville in the early 1980s as a songwriter. Delray had written a song called ‘Old Fashioned Love’, which was recorded by the Kendalls in 1978 and finally made his chart debut in 1985 with ‘Temptation’, released under the name Mike Martin. The song stiffed on the charts, but Delray’s Rich smooth baritone style certainly got him noticed.
Delray was signed by Atlantic Records and released his debut album, Get Rythm in 1991. The title track was written and first recorded by Johnny Cash in 1956 and then re-released in 1969. Cash was very impressed by Delray, who invited The Man in Black to do the harmony on the song, which Cash was more than happy to do. They also did the video together.
The first time I heard Delray sing, I was absolutely blown away. I thought his was one of the purest country voices I had ever heard and would have bet money that he was superstar bound, but for some reason, it just never happened for him and I cannot for the life of me, figure out why.
Delray only had three more chart singles between July of 1991 and December of 1992 and then, he just seemed to vanish outside of a few touring dates. I still have my copy of the Get Rythym album and still listen to it often. The guy was the real deal and should have been a major star, but such is the nature of the business.
Delray no longer performs for the most part and is content living a quiet life with his family, but I can tell you this…if someone ever asked me to rank the the 10 best country voices of all time, in terms of a solid, pure country sound, Martin Delray would be on that list. Enjoy my three favorite Delray recordings below.