MARTIN Stephenson and The Daintees, like Aztec Camera, Prefab Sprout and Orange Juice, trod a lighter musical step, immersing themselves in divine melodies and romantic lyricism.

Stephenson’s album Boat to Bolivia established him as one of the finest songwriters of his generation and that mix of rockabilly, show tunes, rootsy pop, and straight-ahead rock and punk won him a devoted following that has endured since arriving on the musical scene in the 1980s.

However, the trappings of fame was never likely to turn the head of this affable Geordie, who now lives quietly in the Highlands of Scotland.

“We played massive gigs then, and we were always in the NME and stuff, but I never craved that public recognition, it just didn’t interest me one bit,” he said.

“I saw too many people change and sacrifice their spirit when money became involved. I had to get away from all that, and it certainly helped me find out who my friends really were.

“I never had an ambitious vibe — I tried not to get contaminated by it all.”

Stephenson recalled: “It was like a family at the start, playing with bands like Orange Juice from Postcard Records. There was a lot of soul in that music, but in the end the joy factor went out of it.”

Stephenson returns to Darwen’s Library Theatre tomorrow where he performed as a solo artist earlier this summer.

This time, backed by drummer Lucy Stephenson, bass player Lou Short and guitarist John Steel, he returns with The Daintees in tow, offering another rare musical treat for his loyal fan base.

“I loved it when we played there in July, there’s a really nice vibe about the place,” said Martin.

“When you get to my age, you don’t be want to be playing dark, claustrophobic clubs with damp spilling down the walls.

“As far as The Daintees line-up goes this is the best team we’ve ever had.

“I’ve never been one for planning a set I suppose, and it will be the same on Sunday.

“If I ever plan something it always turns out to be a bit of a shambles so I’d rather not tie myself down.”

  • Martin Stephenson and The Daintees, Darwen Library Theatre, Saturday, November 24. Details from 01254 706006