Ashley Slater is best known for his caustic trombone contributions to Loose 'I'ubes. but the eight-piece Microgroovc showcase a very different facet ofhis musical interests. My first slightly bemused exposure to the band catne during a benefit at the ll)(l(‘lub.
‘That was the very first gig.‘ Ashley recalls. ‘but it's got a hell of a lot better since then. although we had a rotten review in Sounds the other day. They said we sounded like the very worst college funk band from the early Eighties.‘ Slater sounds almost perversely tickled. but concedes that ‘it was very upsetting. actually. The next night. though. we had a sell-out gig at the Rock Garden. so they can fuck off.‘
In setting up Microgroove with trumpeter John Eacott (who has since departed). Ashley wanted a ‘pretty pure funk band'. apparently pitched somewhere between Parliament and Monty Python (my description. not his). judging by both the cover and content of their debut album The Human Groove on Antilles.
‘The band is much harder on stage than on the record. There is quite a lot ofblowing and improvisation. but no more than you might find in an ordinary funk band. The only difference is that the standard of improvisation might be a bit higher. It‘s not straight. but definitely straightahead. I was looking fora chance to sing and exercise my dubious talents as a frontman. rather than tootling away in a big band and being ignored by everyone .'
Ashley is now doing most of the writing. and the band play mainly original material. ‘l‘m not sure how original they are. mate. but I‘m pretty sure I wrote them. I‘ve heard reports ofpeople in jazz saying it’s just a phase he‘s going through. but it‘s something I haye always wanted to do. It basically appeals to anybody — it’s good musically. and it‘s good for dancing. Where are we playing in Edinburgh anyway?‘ Queen‘s Hall.l remind him. ‘Oh. no. really. Well. that's good. but I hope they move the chairsout. [definitely see us as a dance-hand.‘ (Kenny Mathieson) Microgroow support (ill .S‘coll-llermi a! The Queen 's‘ Hull.
Edinburgh (m I’ri 9.
LISTINGS: ROCK 33 JAZZ 36 FOLK 38 CLASSICAL 39
um:- Blue note
Martin Stephenson and the Daintees iirst album, Boatto Bolivia, was released in 1986 and was greeted with considerable, it somewhat bemused acclaim. Musicallythe songs iell somewhere between iolk balladry and laid-back jazz, a style which seemed totally at odds with the emotive subjects Stephenson was tackling — lesbianism In ‘Colleen’. alcoholism in ‘thtle Red Bottle’, and bereavement in ‘Crocodile Cryer'. The searing. and occasionally embarrassing honesty oi these songs led inevitably to accusations oi over-sentimentality and even exploitation, but Stephenson's endearing personality easily rose above all this.
In 1987 they released a second album Gladsome, Humour and Blue which, despite being a more mature record, was not alraid to acknowledge the importance oi lamin and community,
1 howeverunlashionablethose ideas
might be. A lascinating oil-shoot ol the
record was a small collection oi
Stephenson’s poetry. Something to Carry With You, which placed him even
: iurther outside the Top 40 world oi
plastic emotions and plastic smiles. The Daintees game plan seemed to
i be working just line but the intervening
two years have seen an uncharacteristic silence and Martin’s none too pleased about it. “The record company politics that go on have prevented the release oi the third album (now scheduled ior18April) and it’s the music that sullers. They’re looking ior hit singles and we haven't really got any,‘ he admits. The current tour oi smaller out-ol-the-way towns
like Burniey, Colchester and Durham is
in 1980, on the night Jhn Lehnon was
a product 01 this lrustration. ‘We just wanted to get back out and work again. It‘s a social thing realiy.’ But why these smaller pieces when The Daintees
could easily iiil much larger venues? ‘I just want to keep changing. When it seems like we should be doing all the bigger places, I‘ll go backto the folk clubs. I've started having more iun playing at parties or in someone's living room’. Hardly the kind at attitude to endear him to big-time record company executives.
Martin Stephenson is typically modest about The Daintees’ luture, ‘What’s important to me is going out and working so that I can keep all the lads in the band in a job. i enjoy that part— it's a bit like being in your own union.’ (Dessie Fahy)
Martin Stephenson and the Daintees play the George Square Theatre, Edinburgh on Thurs 22 and Fri 23, and the Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow on Sat 24 and Sun 25.
shot. The Georgia Satellites“ irontman. Dan Baird, and guitarist, Rick
Richards, were “hanging out' in a bar leeling sorry Ior themselves, when they decided the only solution was to term a band. The impromptu jamming eventually led to the lormatlon oi Keith and The Satellites and eventually The Satellites. inspired by Jack Daniels
and Chuck Berry, by 1983 they recorded
a 8-track demo which was duly taken round every major record company. The response was an emphatic ‘No’ and the band immediately disbanded. Luckily the story does not end there. The band's road managertook the demo to his native England and secured a deal with the independent label Making Waves. The response was such that the band re-iormed in 1985 and eventually Elektra saw the light and signed them. The Georgia preiix was added and in 1988 they released theireponymous debutalbum and scored a massive hit with the single Keep Your Hands To Yourseli. The band are now touring In support oi their album in The Land Di Salvation And Sin and look like continuing in their bid to keep making great rock 'n' roll music. (James Haliburton) The 633 play Barrowland, Glasgow, on Mon 12.
I GLASGOW BARROWLAND(041228 4879) Public Enemy(Sold Out); It Bites. 31 March; Lisa Stanlieid.19Aprll; Faith No More, 22 April; lnsplral Carpets. 24 April; Adeva. 28 April; James, 15 May.
I GLASGOW HENRY WOOD HALL (031 557 8989) Martin Stephenson 8 The Daintees. 24—25 March.
I GLASGOW PAVILION (041 332 1848) Mary Coughisn, 28 March; Cowboy Junkies. 28 March; Mark Knopiler's Notting Hillbillies (Sold Out).
I LIVINGSTON FORUM (0508 419191)Jelhro Tull. 8 May.
I EDINBURGH GEORGE SDUARETHEATRE(031557 8989) Martin Stephenson 8 The Daintees. 23 March; Mary Coughlan, 24 March. I EDINBURGH PLAYHDUSE (031557 2590) Brother Beyond. 28 March; Fish. 27 March; James Last. 9—10 April; Five Star,14April; Yngwie Malmsteen. 19 April; New Kids On The Block, 25 April; Mark Knopiler's Notting Hillbillies, 28 April; Roy ‘Chubby' Brown. 27 April; Suzanne Vega, 5 May;JelI Beck Guitar Shop. 9 May; Magnum. 28 May.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (031 228 1155)Jerry Lee Lewis,13April.
JAZZ & FOLK
I GLASGOW PAVILION (041 332 1848) British Jazz Extravaganza, 25 March; Solid Silver808, 15Aprll; Foster 8 Allen. 19—20 April. I CUMBERNAULD THEATRE (0238 732887) Michael Marra. 27 March; AllyBaln 8 Phil Cunningham. 17 April; Tommy Smith. 21 May.
I EDINBURGH PLAYHDUSE (0315572590)Daniel O'Donnell. 25 March; James Galway 8 The Chieftains. 7 June.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL(031 888 2019)Carol Kidd. 23 March;John Scoiield Group. 30 March: Edinburgh Harp Festival. 9 April; Battlelleld Band, 11 April; Louisiana Music. 13 April; Granuaille 8The Brendan Voyage.15ApriI.
I GLASGOW CITY HALL (041227 5511) SNO/Borodin, 24 March; SNO/Beethoven. 29. 31 March; SNO/Martinu, 7 April; Pops atthe Phil. 8 April; SCO/Maxwell Davies, 11 April; Leningrad SO, 12 Apri|;SCO/Handel.13April; EC Youth Orch. 24 April; SCO/Mozart. 2 May; Pops at the Phil. 27 May.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (031 2281155) SNO/Borodin. 23 March: SNO/Beethoven. 30 March; SNO/Martinu. 8Aprll; Edinburgh Youth Orch. 15 April; Kevock Choir, 21 April; ERCU/Tlppett. 5 May.
32 The List ‘) w 22 March IWII