He fronted Fairport Convention, had a 1971 #1 hit with a cover of Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock, recorded solo albums with Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson – and now he’s back.
Moving to London from his native Scunthorpe in the mid-60s and fronting the short lived UK surf/harmony outfit The Pyramid, releasing ‘The Summer Of Last Year’ on Deram, Iain Matthew McDonald dropped the second ‘I’ from his name and soon found himself in Fairport Convention after being spotted by Ashley Hutchings. He left during the sessions of third album Unhalfbricking (having fronted the band first with Judy Dyble and then Sandy Denny). In 1969 supported by most of his old band mates Iain issued a solo album under the name Matthews Southern Comfort, which harked back to his recent past, before forming a solid band around the same name and releasing Second Spring and Later That Same Year in 1970 and 1971. Further embracing American folk-rock and country-rock in the mould of Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, The Youngbloods and other notable West Coast hippies Matthews Southern Comfort gained a surprise #1 hit with a cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’.
The featured 1970 video above captures the band in full flight supporting Fairport Convention at a sunny, open air gig.
Band friction saw Matthews quit to record solo material in a similar vein prior to signing to Elektra with Plainsong, finishing what his previous group had started, whilst as Southern Comfort the remaining guys soldiered on for another two albums. Moving to America Matthews enjoyed a long and varied career that saw him veer off into all kinds of styles and genres from pop and jazz to electro-pop and new wave. Now he returns to the source material that allowed him to spread his wings.
Esoteric Recordings are pleased to release the new studio album from Matthews’ Southern Comfort as well as two newly re-mastered editions of Ian Matthews first two solo albums.
To hear a track from the Esoteric version of If You Saw Thro’ My Eyes, click here.
To hear a track from the Esoteric version of Tigers Will Survive, click here.
The current line up of Matthews Southern Comfort may only feature Iain Matthews from the original band, but they have already been praised for the manner in which they thoroughly revisit the classic sound that made them so special. This new talented line-up feature renowned guitarist, songwriter, Bart Jan Baartmans, keyboardist, Bart de Win and the relatively unknown but hugely talented songstress, Elly Kellner. Matthews Southern Comfort are also issuing a brand new album on the superb Esoteric label. This spectacular band, represents both the past and the present, as Matthews cleverly reinvents some of the classic MSC songs to accompany the new originals.