Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ian Matthews - 1978 - Stealin' Home

Following two releases for Columbia, Stealin' Home is somewhat of a return to form for Ian Matthews. Recorded for Rockburgh Records in the U.K., and co-produced by Matthews, along with label owner and former cohort Sandy Roberton, the album veers away from the tepid jazz-tinged pop of its predecessor, continuing what seemed to be a natural progression that was hinted at with Some Days You Eat the Bear in 1974, and then to a greater degree with the lackluster Go for Broke two years later. The pop and light R&B of Go for Broke is more fully realized here, showing Matthews in a much more flattering light. Once again he chooses a handful of good covers, including songs by Robert Palmer, John Martyn, and Terence Boylan, to round out and complement his own material. It's a nice, pure pop treatment of Boylan's "Shake It," that gave Matthews his first Top 40 hit in over seven years (number 13), but it's a pair of pre-rock & roll numbers that are responsible for two of Stealin' Home's most inspired moments. A warm a cappela arrangement of Rogers and Hammerstein's "Carefully Taught," from the musical South Pacific, evokes both the beauty and depth of the song, while the interpolation of Richard Stekol's contemporary "Yank and Mary" with the old standard "Smile," has a sort of melancholy sweetness. Elsewhere, cuts such as Palmer's "Gimme an Inch," Boylan's "Don't Hang Up Your Dancing Shoes," and Martyn's "Man in the Station" are appealing enough, but seem a bit diluted when placed next to the original versions. Released by Mushroom Records in North America, Stealin' Home is still worth a listen.

Personnel:

Ian Matthews (vocals, guitar) / Jim Russell (guitar) / Duffy Power (harmonica) / Mel Collins, Joel Tepp (saxophone) / Wynder K. Frogg (organ) / Pete Wingfield (keyboards) / Rick Kemp, Bryn Haworth (bass guitar) / Phil Palmer (drums) / Simon Morton (percussion)

Tracks:

Gimme an Inch Girl / Don't Hang up Your Dancing Shoes 8/ King of the Night / Man in the Station / Let There Be Blues / Carefully Taught / Stealin' Home / Shake It / Yank and Mary (Smile) / Slip Away / Sail My Soul

Ian Matthews - Stealin' Home
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Friday, March 06, 2009

Ian Matthews - 1976 - Go For Broke

Hi to all. Excuse me for the lack of posts. I've been unemployed the last four years; for that reason I had a lot of time for the blog, but three months ago I found a job and I was out of home all the day.
Little by little I'll try to put more in this small music corner.
Today I return with a request for my friend "el negro".
Ian had covered Folk, Country & Bluegrass on Nine Records between 1970-1974 and of those nine, "Matthews Southern Comfort" (1970), " If You Saw Thro' My Eyes" (1971), "Tigers Will Survive".(1972), "Valley Hi" (1973), and "Some Days You Eat the Bear" (1974) are Great Records that met with Good Critical Acclaim and Moderate Sales.
But by 1975 the Record Companies became the Record Industry and the Stakes became HUGE after the Release of "Fleetwood Mac" (1975) sold 7 Million Units. Rock Artists became PRODUCT and CBS Records signed Ian Matthews, and in a Corporate Board Room decided to Market as a POP STAR. And the reasoning behind this thinking was he was capable of BIG Pop Stardom. He had already had a Number One Hit with his Cover of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" in 1970 and in 1972 he had a Minor Chart Sucess with the Crystals classic "Do Doo Ron Ron". So the plan was pick a Cover Tune, Over-Arrange it and BINGO, Big Pop Star.
So here we are at "Go For Broke". It hit the shops in 1976 and surprise! Six out of the Ten Songs here are Cover Versions such as "Darkness, Darkness" (Youngbloods, 1969) , "Brown Eyed Girl" ( Van Morrison, 1967), "Just One Look", (Hollies, 1965) and even 'Groovin" ( Young Rascals, 1967). Sometimes it comes out fine (Brown Eyed Girl) Sometimes it doesn't ( Groovin' ).
(PHILIP S WOLF wrote at amazon)
Probably with "Stealin' Home" the best Matthews albums.
Enjoy it!.

Tracks:

Darkness Darkness / I'll Be Gone / Brown Eyed Girl / Rhythm Of The West / Groovin' / Lonely Hunter / Steamboat / A Fool Like You / Just One Look / When The Morning Comes

Ian Matthews - Go For Broke
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