Didi Stewart

The Summer We Spent in China

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Two years after the Girls Night Out EP debacle and two years before her classic One True Heart album, Didi Stewart issued this four-song EP, The Summer We Spent in China, on her own label, much like that other Boston diva Robin Lane's 1984 post-Warner Bros. four-song EP, Heart Connection. These talented women have a lot to say and would not be denied, crafting more music after the heady times had subsided. "Problem With Gravity starts things off with a bang; a determined and revitalized Stewart, if shellshocked by the tough breaks of her profession, hides it well here. Bringing in veteran musicians Tim Archibald on bass (from New Man and RTZ), Wally Poz (who had a release on a national Playboy talent search sampler disc), and regional veteran Mark Williamson on keyboards, Stewart crafts a dynamic and musically revealing title track. "The Summer We Spent in China" combines her blues-drenched vocals with the singer's pop sensibilities. It's a standout song, powerful and subdued. All the material seems touched by modern mysticism, a quote from "Little Mi" on the back cover states: "So I sit in my room and dream/In my imagination I am free/And I can do wonderful things...." Perhaps the double trauma of the Kirshner/CBS label folding after her 1982 release and the implosion of her local supergroup set Stewart off on flights of fancy. "Jeremy" is the one love song in the bunch, and it has that definite November Group slap-drum sound, only the November Group had a real percussion player, and Stewart chooses to go with drum programming here. Her combination of the pop songwriting she was known for with electric and spacy themes works on these four originals. The Summer We Spent in China is not the easiest of Stewart's discs to find, but it is worth the effort. A nice glimpse of Stewart's journey when placed chronologically with the other recordings in her repertoire.

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