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     Matthews, Iain (16th June 1946-Present)

    He is a singer-songwriter and musician born Iain Matthew McDonald in Scunthorpe, England, who changed his name to Iain Matthews sometimes in the latter half of the 1960s after having started out performing as Ian McDonald.  He decided to go south to London and in 1966 he took a job at a shoe shop in Carnaby Street.  Still involved in music he joined up with the group Pyramid and in 1967 he recorded the singles “The Summer of Last Year” and ”Summer Evening” with them. This was enough to set him on his way as before long he was approached by Ashley Hutchings and invited to become a singer/co-founder of the group Fairport Convention.  He remained with them until 1969 recording their self-titled album and What We Did On Our Holidays, but after having been left out of a session in the studio he went off as a solo artist and recorded his first album with the backing music performed by three other members of Fairport Convention, the pedal steel guitarist Gordon Huntley and the drummer Gerry Conway.  This first album was called Matthews’ Southern Comfort and he decided that he would form his own group using that name and they went on to release the album Second Spring.  The next release, Later That Same Year, would gain him possible his biggest success with the release of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” which reached No. 1 on the UK chart and remained there for three weeks.  In 1970 he decided he wanted to move on once again and left Matthews’ Southern Comfort to follow his solo career.  Often listed as “Ian” and not “Iain” he released the albums If You Saw Thro’ My Eyes and Tigers Will Survive and then in 1972 he formed Plainsong, which included Richard Thompson who had been with him on his first solo album and in Fairport Convention.  Plainsong released In Search of Amelia Earhart but the group disbanded after one of the members but he had moved to Los Angeles and decided to stay there and record more albums for various record labels.  These included the 1972 Journeys from Gospel Oaks, the 1973 Valley Hi produced by Michael Nesmith, the 1974 Some Days You Eat the Bear…and Some Days the Bear Eats You, the 1975 Go for Broke and the 1976 Hit and Run.  1978 came along and he found himself with his cover of “Shake It” becoming a No. 13 in the US, which was followed by “Gimme an Inch” which had previously been a hit for Robert Palmer.  By the time the 1980s had come along he had recorded several more albums, relocated to Seattle, Washington, and co-founded the band Hi-Fi who released Demonstration Record and Moods for Mallards, both in 1982.  Still not seeing much further success he went on to work for Island Records as an A&R man and then in 1986 he appeared as a member of Fairport Convention at their annual Cropredy Festival held in Oxfordshire, England.  This resulted in Walking a Changing Line in 1988, recording several albums for German record labels and making a move to Austin, Texas.  He gave another live performance when he appeared at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1992 and this would be the beginning of Plainsong getting back together.  He moved to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 2000 and became part of the trio More Than a Song who recorded two albums and since then has continued to record solo albums for independent labels and perform with the Searing Quartet, and as a member of Plainsong and No Grey Faith, which is a tribute band for Sandy Denny.


    Matthews' Southern Comfort recordings 

    Woodstock (Joni Mitchell )

    Old Gold OG 9795-A (UK 7")



    1. http://www.iainmatthews.com/bio.htm
    2. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:aifoxqqgldfe~T1
    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iain_Matthews
    4. http://www.rambles.net/iain_matthews.html
    5. http://www.itsaboutmusic.com/iainmatthews.html
    6. http://www.spock.com/Iain-Matthews
    7. http://www.andyrobertsmusic.com/iain_m.html
    8. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:aifoxqqgldfe~T4
    9. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:aifoxqqgldfe~2~T40B







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