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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Martin Stephenson and the Daintees

California Star

Review by Gary Hill

With a sound that covers a lot of territory, this is quite an intriguing disc. There’s a lot of Americana on display here, but we get country music, Spanish sounds, gospel, folk, blues and a lot more. While this is a fairly consistent album, there is some material that doesn’t stand as tall as the rest.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
The Ship

This is an awesome tune. It’s got a great rhythmic groove and some killer Americana in the arrangement and delivery. The female vocals in the background add some soulful textures and I really dig the acoustic guitar soloing.

The Streets of San Sebastian

A much mellower number, this is a ballad with some Spanish music in the mix, along with some country. It powers out later into a melodic jam that’s basically a country and western jam with more of that Spanish sound, ala spaghetti westerns.

Power That Is Greater

There’s a lot of bouncy gospel music on this thing, but overall it reminds me a lot of Randy Newman.

California Star

There’s a mellow, trippy sort of vibe to this pop number. It really feels in a lot of ways like it could have come out of the 1960s. That particularly applies to the female backing vocals.

Ready To Move On

This bluesy rocker is quite awesome and includes some smoking hot harmonica playing.

Boy To Man

This is an acoustic ballad that’s got both folk music and rock built into it. It’s tasty, but doesn’t seem to fit extremely well with the rest of the stuff here.

Something Special

Here’s another piece of Americana that rocks out quite well. I’m reminded of both Eric Clapton and Randy Newman at various times.


This mellow and melodic tune is very tasty. I like it a lot. It has a dream-like quality to it. It’s another that feels like it could have come out of the 1960s and features some great acoustic guitar soloing.

Long Way To Go

Here we get a serious rocker that has a lot of that old school country music sound in the mix. It’s really got a great classic rock sound, if you consider the classic rock that was set in that country and rockabilly kind of sound.

Sweet Cherwine

This acoustic based rocker is very much a country music meets folk gem. It’s a great piece that has a lot of charm and character.

I'm In Love For The First Time

Another mellow rocker with some pop music in the mix, this is another with a lot of the 1960s in it. It’s a decent tune and mid-tempo, but not really a standout. Therefore, it might not be the best choice for closer. Eric Clapton is again a valid reference and there’s definitely some reggae in this thing.


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