AUK Chain Gang: The Daintees “Witches Ride”

It’s fascinating to see how the AUK Chain Gang works – how we all pick up certain elements of the previous post, to conjure up musical memories for the next writer. Jonathan’s fascinating choice of Wolf People’s ‘Night Witch’ was not only illuminating – learning about a band I knew nothing about – but also, it set my mind racing to think about tracks with ‘witch’ as a theme, or title.

Americana and witches don’t have the most instantly recognisable link – but a quick scan through my collection brought up this glorious track by a British artist who hasn’t been in the headlines a lot recently, but has been going strong in any case for over forty years. Martin Stephenson has amassed a vast back catalogue, with around 35 albums to his name, either as a solo artist, or with his band – the Daintees.

He’s a magnificent live performer and will be playing around the UK from February onwards and is always worth a look. ‘Witches Ride’ is taken from a recent Daintees album ‘Howdy Honcho’ and is a catchy song, augmented by some sterling harmonica work from Spider Mackenzie. The album is choc full of fantastic songs and, as always, Stephenson’s humour and masterful song writing craft are to the fore.

Witches Ride’ conjures up wonderful images – and lyrics including “Well I’ve been on the witches ride, Observed every curse at my hide, Through the ebb and the flowing tide, Where dark hearts never reside” make it a truly memorable song.

Stephenson has kept up the quality in his music ever since his eighties debut and a trawl through his Bandcamp page of various releases pays dividends, big time.

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