R-955219-1177178410.jpegR-1287126-1423057409-2132.jpegThe other day in the 45 45s at 45 nostalgia trip, I mentioned how it had been a TV appearance that had introduced me to the talents and delights of Martin Stephenson & The Daintees.

What I wasn’t aware of at the time was the band had only just taken on the name of their singer/songwriter and had in fact previously, as a three-piece, released two singles on Kitchenware Records as The Daintees.  They are interesting enough songs in their own right, with the first of them Roll On Summertime released in December 1983 followed by Trouble Town in September 1984.  It would then take until May 1986 before the next material was released – the wonderful and lovely Crocodile Cryer closely followed by debut LP Boat to Bolivia.

In that period, the band had grown from a three-piece into more or less a five-piece (and incidentally losing in the process and in a completely amicable way, original keyboardist John Steel  – he was to be later thanked profusely on the back of the debut LP) and they sounded all the better for it, helped no doubt by the recording process and the constant gigging which had helped establish and maintain a very loyal fan base across the UK.  The early singles weren’t re-recorded for the debut LP which was quite unusual in those days, which partly reflected a desire to move on but also the fact that Martin Stephenson really felt his new material was so much stronger and relevant.

This was the utterly charming and beguiling debut with the catalogue number of Kitchenware SK3:-

mp3 : The Daintees – Roll On Summertime
mp3 : The Daintees – Involved With Love

And this was the 12″ version of Kitchenware SK 13:-

mp3 : The Daintees – Trouble Town
mp3 : The Daintees – Better Plan
mp3 : The Daintees – Jealous Mind

All of them, with the exception of the rockier and shambolic sounding Better Plan have a certain amount of charm and would not have been out-of-place on the debut LP.

Incidentally, Kitchenware would re-release Trouble Town in January 1987 to take advantage of the fact that the debut LP had fared so well in many ‘end of ’86’ critics polls. To their credit, they offered some bonus material including an alternative, but to my ears inferior, version of their best-known song, as envisaged by Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout:-

mp3 : The Daintees – Crocodile Cryer (Paddy McAloon Mix)


PS : At this point I was going to recommend, as idea for a Xmas present for the diserning music fan in your life, a copy of The Song of the Soul: The Authorised Martin Stephenson Biography, co-authored by Rich Cundill and Mark Bradley which was released back in 2009.

Sadly, it seems to be out of print which is a real shame as it is a really well-researched and well-rounded read with the authors, both of whom are fans, never afraid to offer constructive criticism of the singer-songwriter when they feel it is required.

Well worth tracking down a second-hand copy if you can – although on Amazon they are going for almost £30.