Monday, April 13, 2009

Rediscovered : Me and Matthew

Martin Stephenson and the Daintees : Me and Matthew


Two years ago, just before moving to the apartment where I live now near Paris, I made a BIG mistake : I listened to my wife and threw away my entire cassette collection. But ever since I've been missing them every now and then. They were all recorded in the eighties and early nineties, especially in 1983-86, the time when I started building a musical world of my own.

I discovered Martin Stephenson when his first album came out in 1986. He played the acoustic guitar. He was romantic. He played every genre that you couldn't hear on the FM stations in France : folk, country, jazzy pop, country-punk. The lyrics were about his friends and family, his lesbian sister, one of his cousin's miscarriage, the sound of a rainstrom outside his window. He was from Northern England, a strange place named Sunderland. He always wore a hat which he said had belonged to James Cagney.

Martin did a handful of albums with Kitchenware records but sales fell short and the group disbanded in 1992 and I lost track of him. Until the other day when I found his second album by chance at the library in my hometown and rediscovered this song, that goes well with the coming of spring and this week's topic. It's about childhood memories, a kid with his grandfather in a greenhouse, there are birds and bees. Bucolic, as we say in France. To be honest, it's probably the only song in the album that I listen to now. The rest hasn't aged very well..

After the band's demise, Martin came back to the Highlands in Scotland and settled there, progressively cutting ties with the record industry, playing in pubs, tiny bars, and still recording solo, often auto- produced albums with a better, rootsy sound. The Daintees came back to life in 2000 and recorded a comback album in 2008, as you will see on Martin's site.

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