Milt Matthews Inc.

Band members               Related acts

- Randalll Burney -- lead guitar (1971)

- Tommy Byrd -- drums, percussion (1971)

- Norman Harrison -- keyboards (1971)

- Johnny Ingram -- drums, percussion (1978)

- Timmy Ingram -- percussion (1978)

- Frank Jackson -- bass (1978)

- Bob Johnson -- keyboards (1978)

- Carl Matthews -- bass (1971)

- Landy McNeal -- percussion (1978)

- George Pettus -- keyboards (1978)

- Fred Wells - guitar  (1978)

- Milt Matthews -- vocals, rhythm guitar (1971 - )




- none known





Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  For the People

Company: Catalyst

Catalog: CAS-1111

Year: 1971

Country/State: Washington, DC

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5232

Price: $120.00


This one occasionally shows up on psych lists commanding big dollars.  It's also listed in one of Hans Pokora's Record Collector Dreams books.  Unfortunately, as is often the case, the 'psych' label's certainly questionable.  Namesake Matthews and his interracial band (lead guitarist Randalll Burney, drummer Tommy Byrd, Norman Harrison, and bassist/brother Carl Matthews) actually would be better described as a soul band with rock tendencies. That's not meant as a criticism since the album's actually quite good.


Produced by Beau Ray Fleming, 1971's "For the People" was one of those era pieces that sought to span musical genres and appeal to soul brothers and hippies everywhere.  A mixture of Matthews originals and popular blues and rock covers (Beatles, Blind Faith, B,B, King), that also goes a long way to explaining why the album occasionally bordered on being schizophrenic.  Matthews' roots were clearly in blues and soul (he turned in a nice Otis Redding impersonation on 'Oh Lord (You Got To Help Me)'), though fuzz guitar propelled tracks like their wild cover of 'The Beatles 'Hard Day's Night' and 'Can't See Myself Doing You Wrong' made it equally obvious Matthews had bought lock, stock, and barrel into Hendrix's vision of rock and roll.  As mentioned, namesake Matthews had an attractive soul voice and his backing band was quite good, if occasionally squeezed by Bert Decauteaux's string arrangements ('The Thrill Is Gone'). Lead guitarist Burney certainly loved his fuzz pedal (check out his performance on 'That's What I Feel (Like a Burning Fire)' which sure sounded like a Robert Cray tune to my ears) while Tommy Byrd and Carl Matthews aptly anchored the whole show. So what baseline comparisons come to mind?  Perhaps early George Clinton and Parliament, or Norman Whitfield-era Temptations had he given guitarist Dennis Coffey a mandate to play whenever he felt like it (;Runaway People')...  Yeah, this is simply one where I'm left to struggle for a better description, but it's also an LP that I truly enjoy for it's willingness to stretch demographic boundaries.  As you'd expect, the album was commercially stillborn with soul fans put off by the rock moves, while rock fans were put off by the soul influences.  Shame ...


"For the People" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Thrill Is Gone   (Benson - Petite) - 6:14

2.) Can't See Myself Doing You Wrong   (Milt Matthews) - 3:16

3.) Hard Day's Night   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 4:57

4.) Oh Lord (You Got To Help Me)   (Milt Matthews) - 3:47


(side 2)
1.) Runaway People   (Arlester Christian) - 3:57

2.) That's What I Feel (Like a Burning Fire)   (Milt Matthews) - 4:50

3.) Disaster Area   (Milt Matthews) - 4:10

4.) Presence of the Lord   (Eric Clapton) - 5:15


Matthews went on to record several other efforts, including one more Milt Matthew Inc. LP and some solo material.  I've never stumbled across any of it, but I gather it was more soul oriented.  Love to know more about these guys ...


1970's "Milt Matthew Inc" Commonwealth United catalog number CU 6005



Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Milt Matthews

Company: H&L

Catalog: HL 69028

Year: 1978

Country/State: Washington, DC

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5472

Price: $20.00


Literally within a couple of days of having typed the previous sentence I stumbled across a copy of a Milt Matthews solo LP ...


Anyone expecting to hear another album similar to Matthew's earlier rock-oriented efforts was likely to be disappointed by 1978's cleverly titled "Milt Matthews".  Released on the H&L label, this time out Matthews opted for a straightforward soul sound.  That wasn't meant as a criticism since the man had a great voice that was versatile enough to handle a broad spectrum of styles.  'Do Drop In', 'Trust Me' and 'Oh I Can't believe You're Gone' showcased him in conventional 'love man' format handling a series of pretty, but conventional soul ballads.  'Wait, Stop That Train' (baring more than a passing resemblance to The O'Jays) and 'Me and You and Love' were easily as good as anything coming out of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Philly International catalog.  Even better, 'Do What You Really Feel' and 'After Love, What' offered up a killer pair of Southern soul tunes that would have made dandy singles had they been released a couple of year's earlier.


H&L tapped the LP for a series of singles:


- 1978's 'Oh I Can't Believe You're Gone' b/w 'Trust Me' (H&L catalog number H&L 4692)

- 1978's 'Stop That Train' b/w 'This Is My Song' (H&L catalog number H&L 4698)


"Milt Matthews" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Do Drop In   (Milt Matthews) - 2:55

2.) Wait, Stop That Train   (Milt Matthews) - 5:54

3.) Me and You and Love   (Bob Johnson - George Pettus) - 3:33

4.) Trust Me   (Milt Matthews) - 4:19


(side 2)
1.) Do What You Really Feel   (Milt Matthews) - 3:20

2.) Oh I Can't Believe You're Gone   (Milt Matthews) - 4:07

3.) I Ain't Got No Love   (Milt Matthews) - 3:28

4.) This Is My Song   (Milt Matthews) - 3:32

5.) After Love, What   (Milt Matthews) - 4:18


As of the time I'm writing this (2008), Matthews was still involved in music, though it appears to be of a secular nature and with his wife has established a non-profit charitable organization - The Milt Matthews Foundation for the Homeless:



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