Friday, 19 April 2013

Desert Island Discs 19 Boat to Bolivia by Martin Stephenson and the Daintees

19 Boat to Bolivia by Martin Stephenson and the Daintees 1986

There was a time when I couldn't see this being anywhere outside the top 5. Although it has dropped down a bit over the years it is still a killer lp. I bought this during a very odd 6 months when I was doing voluntary work in Worcester when buying records was the only thing that kept me sane.

Part of Kitchenware's fantastic 4, they had already been going quite some time when the lp came out.

A rag tag mixture of styles but all clocked in Martin Stephenson's sweet vocals painfully honest lyrics and a killer ear for melody.

The sleeve notes were typical of the band , a combination of lyrics for some songs , anecdotes or meaning explanations for other. They were made to be poured over and left you wanting more.

The songs were all very personal

Coleen is a song to his lesbian sister just after she had a relationship breakdown, Look Down Look down the suicide of a someone at school , and Crocodile Cryer written on the day of his grandmothers funeral  when his saddest couldn't compute with the celebration of a life that was happening downstairs

There is ragtime , country , pop , blues , ballads and in the title track (which only made the lp on re release reggae. All types of music in there purest form a 19 yr old had no interest in., however in Martin's world they became magical, helped by the fact that at their peak they were the best live band going.

For someone who had never heard Dave Edmunds or Nick Lowe Running Water was a rollicking sing along. The lyric deals with a local boy who held up a petrol station with a fake gun only for the attendant to tragically die of a heart attack

The lp became my one contribution to life in halls and many a drunken night we would put on our own private gig and sing along to the whole lp
These rather ropey clips don't really allow the warmth of the lp to come across, produced somewhat surprisingly by Bunnymen and Pixies producer Gil Norton
Perhaps the most memorable moment is the simplest. I remember hearing this track live where the whole audience sang along from start to finish , not in a drunken joyous bellow but in a respectful haunting whisper
You can buy Boat to Bolivia here and this version for a strange reason has a 2nd disc compilation of the  other 3 daintees lps


  1. Wow, you really do love this record! Must be a time/place thing. Strangely, I still like Salutation Road better. Slick production & first love syndrome I suppose. Live clip of Crocodile Cryer is fantastic... love the guitar solos!

    #19 - WATERBOYS - "THIS IS THE SEA" (1985)

    - what's to say... a classic!!!

  2. Def a time and place coupled with some fantastic memories of seeing them tour the lp

  3. I loved the band live; they seemed to take up residence at The Mean Fiddler in the late 80s. I think that we might have supported them once there... This was the time too that an early MM supported The Notting Hillbillies (or maybe Brendan Crocker & the 5 o'clock Shadows) featuring a certain Mr Cliffe on bass...

  4. I have a fond spot for this. I listened to it an awful lot at the time. I had Little Red Bottle and Running Water on mix tapes. Nice choice.

  5. This is an album I like a lot.I had it quite a bit lower but it's certainly worthy of making the trip to the island.As you say ,for you it's also a case of 'right time and place'
    #19 Stephen Duffy with Nigel Kennedy - Music in Colours
    An album that took me a while to warm to.The love of the Duffy tracks was immediate but those short 'sorbet' tracks of Kennedy took a while longer. They seem like an odd pair, probably brought together due to a shared love of Aston Villa, but let's forgive them for that. I like to think they got together because of unfair prejudices against them. The classical music snobs found it hard to accept Kennedy as a serious artist when he looked like THAT and Duffy, even after releasing 3 sublime albums with The Lilac Time, was still remembered by the masses as 'TinTin' who recorded 'Kiss Me'.Well more fool them, I say!
    A Duffy favourite of mine,'Natalie'

  6. Never managed to get a copy of this but really liked the tracks that were on memory anmd desire

    got taken to see Brendan crocker by a girl i fancied the socks off , didn't go anywhere and ive always blamed mr crocker

    they were on every mix tape i forced on people for about 10 yes!

  7. Martin's on tour at the moment and playing & performing better than ever.

    Dates are on and you can follow him on twitter --> @mgstephenson

    He's recently released acoustic versions of all The Daintees albums including "Bolivia" which you can stream at

    Well worth a listen!


  8. Another great choice. One wee correction- at the time of its release, Martin said that Coleen was him imagining his sister was gay & mourning a relationship that had ended.

  9. Yeb best singer song writer for me this country has produced - seen him and daintees play many times....most remote was a place called Culdaff County Donegal (its near Malin head which you hear on shipping forecast). I only dated girls who had MS&D B2B in their album collection - my wife of 30 years had a copy ...just played both sides again ...happy times listening to this


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