Mother Earth

Matt Deighton — guitar
Neil Corcoran — bass
Chris White — drums
Bryn Barklam — Hammond organ

The UK's "acid jazz" craze gained momentum in the mid-80s, when the original Acid Jazz Records label began to capitalize on the swelling interest in jazz, by encouraging a series of crossover bands who were mixing the music with funk and creating a danceable but harmonically rich, essentially live sound. As more and more London-based musicians began looking to the 70s, and projects led by Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham or Lonnie Liston Smith, for inspiration, Mother Earth came together in 1990. Formed by Matt Deighton (vocals/guitar), Neil Corcoran (bass) and Chris White (drums), the band originally included additional vocalists Shauna Greene and Bunny aka Stephen Bunn.

Mother Earth's first recordings The 5th Quadrant and Riot On 103rd Street on the Totally Wired 6 and Totally Wired 7 Acid Jazz compilations swiftly gained the band a cult popularity and a recording contract with the label. A funky, Hammond organ-led affair very much in the jazz funk mould, their debut Stoned Woman was released in 1992, and the band quickly followed up with a hectic tour schedule, establishing a trendy, retro stage image heavy on flared trousers and sheepskin. Bryn Barklam (Hammond organ) had joined the line-up by this stage (although credited on the band's debut he did not play on it). If Stoned Woman suffered from an occasional blandness and lack of musical direction, the newly slimmed down quartet of Deighton, Corcoran, White and Barklam tightened things up in 1994, with the release of The People Tree. Harder and funkier, with catchier tunes such as Apple Green and the sublime ballad Jesse (featuring backing vocals by ex-Style Council singer D.C. Lee), The People Tree featured guest appearances by Paul Weller and popular Acid Jazz percussionist Snowboy, and represented a significant change in direction for the band, who were now looking towards 70s funk rock for a tougher, Santana-influenced sound. Deighton released a wistful solo set, Villager, before Mother Earth returned with another strong collection, You Have Been Watching. White was replaced by Jose Hadaway for a brief period in 1996, featuring on the live album The Desired Effect, but the departure of main songwriter Deighton led to the band's hasty demise.

One of Acid Jazz's more interesting acts, Mother Earth never enjoyed the commercial success their music deserved. Lead vocalist Deighton went on to play guitar with Oasis and in Paul Weller's touring band as well as continuing his low-key solo career. Much to the delight of their cult following, the four original members of Mother Earth reunited in 2001 to play a series of live shows.



Apple Green
Mister Freedom


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