Stephen B. Martin wrote his first song at the age of sixteen.
Ironically, it was titled When I was Young. And although
he has been writing strange and beautiful songs for 36 years, he
has just completed his first full-length, solo recording, Oroboros.
The songs of Oroboros sample a body of work that encompasses
a writhing continent, the turning of the millennium and the abyss
between laughter and tears.
Stephen began his performance career in the mid-60s as a regular
at the Y-NOT coffeehouse in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts.
He flew to San Francisco in 1967 to join in the Haight-Ashbury summer
of love. When he returned to Worcester he conceived and nurtured
into reality Congress Alley, the controversial creative community
that spawned artists like Orpheus, Clean Living and the original
J. Geils Blues Band.
Of course he wrote about it; Orpheus recorded Congress Alley
on the first album. They eventually released thirteen of Stephen's
songs - he sang lead on several of them. Others covered Congress
Alley - Clean Living (Vanguard), Alan Lorber (MGM/Verve) and
Congress Alley (Avco), a group that actually named itself after
the song. Martin originals have also been recorded by: Jaime Brockett
(Capitol), Gregory Havrilak (UA) and Terrance O'Sullivan (Ind.).
In 1971, to avoid incarceration, Stephen moved to Amherst, MA.
Upon the demise of Orpheus, he continued playing backed by
Orpheus bassist Howard Hersch and South African mandolin
player Bob "Honey Bear" Denton, with whom he toured New York state,
Ontario and Michigan.
He moved back to San Francisco in 1973, where he performed with
Robin Sinclair's Rescue, cult-rockers Charles Biscuit Band, and
country singer Rebecca West.
Always politically involved, Stephen was arrested in 1983 with
clown-activist Wavy Gravy while blockading Diablo Canyon Nuclear
Power Plant. He also joined with the democratic Workers Party
in resisting U.S. intervention in El Salvador.
The '90s found Stephen back in New England again. Since his return
he has produced a series of independent releases. Recipe
from 1991 (Martin, MacKay and Schell) is an experimental expedition
into what he calls "country-folk-rock-a-billy-rhythym 'n blues".
In 1995 there was Ball Peen Platter (Noisy Revolution Records),
a green vinyl EP featuring electric music on one side and acoustic
on the other.
Oroboros was produced by Stephen's long-time friend Jaime Brockett.
Engineered by Chris Biggi at Sunset Ridge Recording studios in Hampton
Falls, NH, Martin describes the sound as "big folk."