Ian Matthews

Band members                              Related acts

- Ian Matthews (aka Ian Mathews McDonald) -- vocals


  supporting musicians: (1971)

- Gerry Conway -- drums, percussion

- Sandy Denny (RIP) -- vocals, keyboards

- Pat Donaldson -- bass

- Tim Renwick -- guitar

- Andy Roberts -- guitar

- Richard Thompson --- guitar

- Keith Tippett -- keyboards


  supporting musicians ((1972)

- Cal Batchelor -- lead guitar

- Tim Donald -- drums, percussion

- Wolfe J. Flywheel (aka Richard Thompson) -- accordion

- Tim Renwick -- lead guitar

- Andy Roberts -- lead guitar

- Bob Ronga -- piano

- Bruce Thomas -- bass

- Ray Waleigh -- sax

- Ian Whitman -- piano

- John Wilson -- drums, percussion





- Fairport Convention

- Hamilton Pool

- Hi-Fi

- The Iain Adventure

- Matthews Southern Comfort

- Iain Matthews and Elliott Murphy

- More Than a Song

- No Grey Faith

- Plainsong

- The Pyramid



Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  If You Saw Thru My Eyes

Company: Vertigo

Catalog: VEL-1002

Year: 1971

Country/State: Lincolnshire, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; swirl inner label

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4881

Price: $20.00



It's kind of funny that I owned a bunch of Ian Matthews albums for years before I realized his connection with Fairport Convention (so much for thinking I knew so much about music).


Following two albums with Fairport Convention and two releases with Matthews Southern Comfort, 1971's "If You Could See Thru My Eyes" marked Matthews first true solo album.  Here's what Matthews' own website has to say about the album: 


"On his own again, Matthews hooked up with Vertigo Records and former Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith, who signed on to produce his next album and in the process introduced him to Andy Roberts, an up-and-coming London musician who’d done an art college stint in Liverpool. After a difficult start, Matthews took over the production himself and created one of the most acclaimed albums of his career in If You Could See Thro’ My Eyes (1971). Armed with original songs like “Desert Inn” and “Thro’ My Eyes” and backed by Roberts, Richard Thompson, Sandy Denny, Keith Tippet (King Crimson), Tim Renwick (Al Stewart, Elton John, Pink Floyd), and other legendary British performers, Matthews seemed, for a moment, to have found a comfortable balance of autonomy, support, creativity, and success. He’d also discovered Richard Farina, two of whose songs (“Morgan the Pirate” and “Reno Nevada”) appear on the album."


Backed by an all star cast of friends including Fairport alumnus Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson, the self-produced album stood as one of Matthews' creative high points.   Propelled by his likeable voice original material such as 'Hearts', 'Never Ending' and 'Little Known' fell under the sensitive singer/songwriter umbrella.  Taken individually those numbers are quite nice, but the overarching feeling of angst and personal pain starts to get boring after awhile. The vague country-rock sound also started to get stale.  That made the isolated up-tempo numbers like his Richard Farina covers 'Reno Nevada' and 'Morgan the Pirate' a welcomed change in pace.


"If You Could See Thru My Eyes" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) D Desert Inn   (Ian Matthews) - 3:30

2.) Hearts   (Ian Matthews) - 3:12

3.) Never Ending   (Ian Matthews) - 2:48

4.) Reno Nevada   (Richard Farina) - 4:12

5.) Little Known   (Ian Matthews) - 2:55

6.) Hinge (instrumental)   (Ian Matthews) - 1:20


(side 2)
1.) Hinge   (Ian Matthews) - 0:25

2.) Southern Wind   (Ian Matthews) - 3:10

3.) If Came Without Warning   (Jacobs) - 4:01

4.) You Couldn't Lose   (Ian Matthews) - 3:35

5.) Morgan the Pirate   (Richard Farina) - 2:34

By the way, Matthews has a nice website located at: http://www.iainmatthews.com/





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Tigers Will Survive

Company: Vertigo

Catalog: VEL-1010

Year: 1971

Country/State: Lincolnshire, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; swirl inner label

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1291

Price: $20.00




Self-produced, 1971's "Tigers Will Survive" found Ian Matthews seemingly trying to find a balance between American styled country-rock and the English folk-rock moves he'd recorded with Fairport Convention.  Showcasing a mixture of originals and cover tunes, this time around the album found Matthews working with the English band Quiver.  Exemplified by songs like 'Morning Song', 'Midnight On the Water' and 'Hope You Know', musically most of the eleven tracks featured sweet acoustic ballads and mid-tempo folk-flavored tunes that were well suited for showcasing Matthews' pretty, occasionally fragile voice.  The interesting thing is Matthews was actually even better when he stretched out on tougher rock material like the cover tune and his version of Richard Farina's 'Un-American Activity Dream'  (the latter seemingly striking a chord with his sense of justice)    Among the album's multiple highlights were the opener 'Never Again', and The Byrds-styled folk-rocker ''Please Be My Friend''.  Was it the best Matthews release ?  Nope, but it was still worth checking out - one of those album's that actually gets better with repeated hearings.

Tigers Will Survive" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Never Again   (Ian Matthews) - 

'Never Again' opened the album with a sweet country-rock tune that was highly commercial in a Poco/Flying Burrito Brothers fashion.  Glorious acoustic guitars.   rating: *** stars
2.) Close the Door Lightly when You Go   (Eric Anderson) -

The Eric Anderson original was a pretty stark country tune.  The Fairport Convention cover upped the pop content, while Matthews' version steered the song to American folk-rock territory.   Under the alias Wolfe J. Flywheel the song showcased featured former Fairport convention band mate Richard Thompson on accordion.  
3.) Un-American Activity Dream    (Richard Farina) -

Yeah, it may not be the subtlest protest song you've ever heard, but Matthews turned in a nice rocked-up version of the Richard Farina tune.     rating: **** stars

4.) Morning Song  (Ian Matthews) - 

Pretty acoustic ballad, but a bit thick in the singer/songwriter angst vein.  rating: ** stars
5.) The Only Dancer   (Pete Carr) -

Nice bouncy tune that, thanks to Thompson's killer accordion solo, had kind of a Cajun flavor.   rating: *** stars

(side 2)

1.) Tigers Will Survive (Ian Matthews) - 

Another atypical rocker, the title track sounded a bit like a good Roger McGuinn tune.  rating: **** stars

2.) Midnight On the Water  (Ian Matthews) -

The acoustic 'Midnight On the Water' opened up with a CSN&Y flavor.  Nice, but not particularly original or memorable.   rating: *** stars
3.) Right Before My Eyes   (Peter Lewis) -

Always loved the unconventional guitar burps that opened the tune.  Tim Renwick's licks sure sounded like Richard Thompson on this one.  Even better was Bruce Thomas throbbing bass.  Nice background vocals for Matthews' sweet vocals.  rating: **** stars
4.) Da Doo Ron Ron (Phil Spector  - Barry - Ellie Greenwich) -

Fans seem to love this one, but gawd only knows why Matthews felt the need to record an a cappella version of this oldie. It certainly wasn't going t make you forget The Crystals' hit.  Leave it to the marketers to pick the collection's absolutely worst tune as a single. 


- 1972's 'Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)' b/w 'Never Again' (Vertigo catalog number VE 103) rating: ** stars
5.) Hope You Know   (Ian Matthews) -

Yawner acoustic ballad with Ray Waleigh on sax.   rating: ** stars
6.) Please Be My Friend   (Ian Matthews) -

The opening was a bit too country for my tastes, but I can admire and appreciate the tune's pretty melody and the nice acoustic guitars; particularly when the track switched over to an electric arrangement with a killer telecaster solo.   Nice Roger McGuinn and the Byrds vibe on this one.   rating: **** stars