Way back in 1982 Martin Stephenson and the Daintees put their first single out on the seminal Kitchenware label, and four albums, including the classic debut Boat To Bolivia followed in the 80s before Martin retreated from the big city and bright lights to head back north. A successful solo career followed with Martin self releasing albums, and still drawing in sizeable crowds live, while occasionally re-convening the much beloved Daintees culminating with the original line up reformed, and re-invigorated really on form and fire.
Some thirty-five studio albums in Martin not only still has that affable nature and maverick approach most importantly he still has that knack to write classic songs that stop you in your tracks and linger in your mind.
A piano flourish announces Bayswater Road’s arrival on straight ahead rocker ‘The Whisky’ with Martin pronouncing that ‘The Whisky is surely poison, it’s a deep dark medicine’. Too much of a good thing folks. The jaunty and jolly swagger of ‘Bayswater Road’ follows while ‘Secret Crush’ transports us back to the late 50s / early 60s with hints of a Duane Eddy guitar creeping in. ‘Lord Lead Us’ brings out Martin’s spiritual and gospel side. Upbeat and exuberant the albums single ‘High Sierra Snow’ is Martin at his snappiest and catchiest in a song redolent of classic 60s crooner pop meets postcard label pop of the late 70s. Irresistible. Nature abounds on ‘Every Kind Of Heaven’, while ‘Thorn For A Rose’ suggests that all things of beauty have a sharper side to them and need to be handled with care. ‘Shoot’ with its chunky guitar riffs and a plea to pull the trigger ends with a sharp finish while the album concludes with a touching tribute to a friend on ‘Elaine’ and the romantic ‘She Rides Horses’ as Martin croons a song of love and longing.
A Gorgeous, graceful, at times gregarious album eclectic in its selection of songs, electric in its energy. Thirty-five years on and still evolving and exciting. Stunning.
Artist’s website: http://www.daintees.co.uk/
Martin Stephenson’s showreel: