Mother Earth - on Acid Jazz Records
Mother Earth had originally come together as a sample-based project in 1991. Long-time Acid Jazz associate, Bunny, convinced label owner Acid Jazz to help him make a record with some of his friends at a tiny studio on an industrial estate in Tottenham North East London, owned by engineer John DeBrett. The first track ‘The Fifth Quadrant’ was released on the label’s flagship compilation series “Totally Wired”‘s sixth volume, and an album was put together over the summer of 1991; slowly a group of musicians coalesced around the project. Some of these were Acid Jazz regulars such as the Brand New Heavies’ guitarist Simon Barthlomew and organist James Taylor. Others, in particular singer/guitarist Matt Deighton, singer Shauna Greene, bassist Neil Corcoran, and drummer Chris White, started rehearsing as a group. They picked up organist Bryn Barklam and made their debut playing a short set at that year’s Acid Jazz Christmas party – a party at which the only other performer was Jamiroquai.The album, “Stoned Woman” (Jazid LP 48) was released in the early summer of 1992, by which time its largely studio-based format was being redefined by the live act, which developed rapidly throughout the year. By the summer, with the LP receiving some incredible reviews (stand up Ian McCann in the NME), Mother Earth had come into their own, successes including a memorable weekend at Stockholm’s Water Festival and a stormer at the Acid Jazz Dammit Weekender at the Milkweg in Amsterdam. Eddie Piller felt that now was the time to record a single. “I had wanted a live band to play the sampled album. Once they’d played together long enough, we hired the Roundhouse to record the first single. Matt Deighton had not yet emerged as a songwriter, so I chose a particular Santana single, ‘Hope You’re Feeling Better’, because in my mind that is how I wanted the band to turn out. The experiment worked, so it was decided to record an album, which became “The People Tree”.”“The People Tree” was Mother Earth’s masterpiece – a soul, rock, folk and funk blend that was crowned by some fine songwriting. Numbers such as ‘Jesse’ written by Deighton & Green and featuring the vocals of Dee C Lee and the sublime ‘Apple Green’ showed that this was a group who were true contenders. The album received rapturous acclaim and the sold over 100,000 copies. The group toured the world playing to full houses all over Europe, Japan and Australia. At the time it looked very much as if Mother Earth were about to become Acid Jazz’ next big thing.Somehow it wasn’t to be. 1995 brought a new album and another sold out world tour. But whilst “You Have Been Watching” contained many great numbers, it failed to capture the hearts of many new fans. Matt Deighton’s head had been turned by love and a fascination with folk music that led him to record his classic “The Villager” album. It was to mark the disintegration of the group who would never record another album. However they left us with a legacy of music that will be remembered by all of those who heard them.