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In 2016, Martin Stephenson and the Daintees toured the UK to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the release of Boat To Bolivia, selling out Sage Two and other venues such as The Lowry and The 100 Club. A few days later he was in front of about 100 in a small theatre in Sheffield. These days, wherever it is, the love and respect flows to and from the stage.
For him, it’s not a career, it’s a lifetime calling, and his restless troubadour spirit has now amassed an extraordinary catalogue of 40 albums.
Before he was anything else, Durham native Stephenson was a busker fueled by heroes Peter Green and Eddie Cochran and brought up on Frank Zappa, Santana and Patti Smith. It was the beginning of an instinct, a need, for live performance that continues to this day.
The Daintees’ first single, Roll On Summertime, appeared in 1984, and soon the big boys were taking notice. Kitchenware Records, based in Newcastle, had already become one of the most important indies of the decade with a roster that included Prefab Sprout, Hurrah! and the Kane Gang. Stephenson’s richly detailed and nuanced songwriting was the perfect fit, and the distribution deal via London Records gave the band a real platform.
Boat To Bolivia displayed an extraordinary maturity, from the country charm of Candle In The Middle to the Cohenesque acoustics of Rain, and sounds as fresh today as it did then. A degree of UK chart success followed with the top 40 albums Gladsome, Humour & Blue in 1988 and Salutation Road in 1990.
When they lost their deal after 1992’s less successful The Boy’s Heart, Stephenson called time on the original Daintees, setting about a solo career and the prolific outpouring of quality material that shows no sign of slowing down. Right now, he’ll tell you, he could record fully five more albums from his current crop of songs.