Matthews Southern Comfort
With Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol, and Ashley Hutchings from Fairport Convention, guitarist Mark Griffiths, drummer Gerry Conway, pedal steel player Gordon Huntley, and keyboardists Dolly Collins and Roger Coulam, Ian Matthews (aka Iain Matthews) recorded his debut solo album, Matthews' Southern Comfort, whose sound was rooted in American country music and rockabilly, in 1969. This was his first significant experience as a songwriter, although the band also covered the likes of Neil Young and Ian and Sylvia. He followed it up by forming a working band using the name of his first album, Matthews Southern Comfort (without the apostrophe), then released subsequent albums Second Spring (1969 – UK #52) and Later That Same Year (1970).

The band went through several different line-ups and toured extensively for the next two years, to general critical acclaim. They had one commercial success: a 1970 cover version of "Woodstock" (written by Joni Mitchell) was a number one hit single in the UK Singles Chart. It experienced heavy airplay in Canada reaching No. 5, as well as peaking at No. 23 on the Billboard singles charts in the United States in 1971. Afterwards, Matthews split with Southern Comfort, who went on to release three albums of their own on Harvest Records. (Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links to Peel

Matthews Southern Comfort - Woodstock (1970)

Matthews Southern Comfort - Woodstock (1970)

Matthews Southern Comfort were frequently played on Top Gear during their lifespan, both session and tracks by the band appearing in Peel's playlists. But not only was Peel a supporter of the band, he may even have been responsible for its existence. In an interview with Mojo magazine (December 2015, p.130), Ian Matthews, who had just been fired by Fairport Convention in 1969 after the band decided to concentrate on its version of British traditional folk music, is quoted as saying: "I told John Peel the part of Fairport I loved was where we would interpret contemporary American songwriters. He said, 'Well maybe you ought to develop that as something of your own.'" And indeed this was what Ian Matthews did, first with Matthews Southern Comfort, then with Plainsong, and during his solo career.

Peel was the narrator of a documentary film (see below) made at an open-air festival in 1970, directed by Tony Palmer, and featuring live performances by Fairport Convention and Matthews Southern Comfort.

Festive Fifty Entries

  • None.


Two sessions. No known commercial release. Please note that Ken Garner lists the band under the spelling Matthews' Southern Comfort (with an apostrophe). Further sessions were recorded by Southern Comfort (without Ian Matthews). Matthews also recorded a solo session and sessions with Plainsong.

1. Recorded 1970-02-02. First broadcast 14 February 1970, 18 April 1970

  • My Front Pages / Blood Red Roses / Uncle Joe/Reagan’s Rag / What We Say

2. Recorded 1970-11-17. First broadcast 28 November 1970. Repeated 26 December 1970

  • I Believe In You / Sylvie / And When She Smiles / And Me

Other Shows Played

  • Matthews Southern Comfort - Colorado Spring Eternal

    Matthews Southern Comfort - Colorado Spring Eternal

    10 January 1970: unknown
  • 24 January 1970: Colorado Springs Eternal (LP - Matthews' Southern Comfort) UNI
  • 07 February 1970: Please Be My Friend (LP – Matthews’ Southern Comfort) UNI UNLS 108
  • 06 June 1970: Ballad Of Obray Ramsey (7") Uni
  • 28 June 1970: Sunday Concert
  • 11 July 1970: Something In The Way She Moves (LP: Second Spring) UNI
  • 25 July 1970: D'Arcy Farrow (LP - Second Spring) UNI
  • 12 August 1976: Woodstock (7") UNI (JP: "Matthews' Southern Comfort with their cover of Joni Mitchell's Woodstock and I was rather surprised to see from Rockfile 2 that that got to number 1 in the autumn of 1970.")

See Also

External Links

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