Matthews Southern Comfort @ Magna Carta
Two of the Finest British Folk Rock Bands of all time come to Worthing Piers Southern Pavilion for one night
This is a unreserved cabaret style seating and standing show.
There are pillars that may restrict viewing
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The building is at the sea end of the pier
Matthews Southern Comfort
Iain Matthews is an English musician and songwriter. He was a singer with Fairport Convention before forming his own band, Matthews Southern Comfort, which had a UK number one in 1970 with a cover version of Joni Mitchell’s song “Woodstock”.
Matthews was known in the 1960s as Ian McDonald, then as Ian Matthews. In 1989, he reverted to the original spelling of his first name.
Influenced by both rock and roll and folk music, he has performed mainly as a solo act, although he was a member of Fairport Convention during the early period when they were heavily influenced by American folk rock. He later had a solo career and led the bands Plainsong, Hi-Fi, No Grey Faith, More Than a Song, and Matthews Southern Comfort.
During the British pop music explosion of the mid-1960s, he sang with several bands and moved to London in 1966. He formed a trio, The Pyramid, an English short-lived surf music band, which recorded one single, “Summer of Last Year” in January 1967, on Deram Records. A remaining song, “Me About You,” surfaced on Matthews’ Orphans & Outcasts Volume 3 in 1999.
In the spring of 1967, Matthews was recruited by Ashley Hutchings as a male vocalist for Fairport Convention, where he sang with Judy Dyble and then with Sandy Denny.
Matthews Southern Comfort
In 1969 Matthews recorded his debut solo album, Matthews’ Southern Comfort, which was rooted in American country music and rockabilly. He made the album with Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol, Ashley Hutchings, guitarist Mark Griffiths, drummer Gerry Conway, pedal steel guitarist Gordon Huntley, and keyboardists Dolly Collins and Roger Coulam. This was his first significant experience as a songwriter, although the band also did cover versions 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 albums Second Spring and Later That Same Year (1970).
They had major commercial success: a 1970 cover version of “Woodstock” by Joni Mitchell was a number one hit single worldwide.
In 1971, Matthews recorded two solo albums (If You Saw Thro’ My Eyes & Tigers Will Survive), on Vertigo Records. Under the sponsorship of former Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith, and surrounded by likeminded British semi-folkies (notably another ex-Fairporter, Richard Thompson), he formed Plainsong, who signed to Elektra Records.
In 1972 Plainsong released In Search of Amelia Earhart. The album included a cover of Dave McEnery’s “Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight”, plus a song by Matthews, “True Story of Amelia Earhart’s Last Night”. The song is based on research that suggests that Earhart may have been spying on Japanese bases in the Pacific islands. It also included “Even the Guiding Light”, an answer to Thompson’s “Meet on the Ledge”.
After Plainsong collapsed, and with his career now based in Los Angeles, Matthews released several more albums: Journeys from Gospel Oak (1972); Valley Hi (1973), produced by Michael Nesmith, (formerly of the Monkees); Some Days You Eat The Bear (1974); Go For Broke (1976) and Hit and Run (1977). He went from Elektra to Columbia Records, where he scored a hit single in 1978 with a cover of Terence Boylan’s “Shake It”, which reached top 20 on the US charts. He had more success with the follow-up covering Robert Palmer’s “Gimme an Inch”.
Starting in 1977, Fairport Convention held the annual Cropredy Festival. In the mid-1980s, there was interest in reviving the band and recording new material. Matthews was invited to perform with them as a part of the band, and in their other projects, at the 1986 Cropredy Festival. This led to Walking a Changing Line (1988) on Windham Hill, a tribute to Jules Shear of Jules and the Polar Bears. This beautifully produced effort was the first vocal album ever released by Windham Hill. Matthews then moved to Austin, Texas and recorded several albums for a series of German independent labels. He appeared with Andy Roberts at the 1992 Cambridge Folk Festival, which led to the first of what became several changed versions of Plainsong.
In 2000 Matthews moved to Amsterdam, where he became involved in independent music projects and collaborations, including the band No Grey Faith and another revival of Plainsong. Moving to Horst in the south of the Netherlands, in 2008 he produced Joy Mining with the Dutch jazz Searing Quartet. In September 2010, he released the first Matthews Southern Comfort album in 40 years and returned to a major record label.
In December 2017, he performed as Matthews Southern Comfort with his Dutch band at the 4th Great British Folk Festival along with Magna Carta at Butlin’s Skegness and performed a set of both old and new songs.
Now in 2018 Iain Matthews is back performing a set spanning 50 years.
Magna Carta was founded in 1969.
The band has seen a number of personnel changes, but the common factor has always been Chris Simpson.
Song writer, poet, acoustic guitar player and vocalist, he has been largely responsible for the band's unique sound, and has had uncanny success in gathering high quality musicians around him.
Arguably one of the greatest acoustic acts in the world, they have transcended the fluctuating fortunes of the music business to remain a superb concert and recording act, surviving for almost 50 years.
What is the secret when so many artists bite the dust and disappear without trace?
Simply, superbly crafted songs; great full length classic works such as Seasons and Lord of the Ages - and all based on a tight twin individual guitar sound and a unique style in vocals.
MAGNA CARTA have performed in 59 countries so far across the world. They have worked with the best and the worst.
Their story is one of the most unique in the contemporary music business; from the deserts to the sea, through the cities and the heartlands around the world their dales based music has been heard.
Simpson's voice, like his songs, has been tried and tested by the road and his guitar playing goes from strength to strength, a style recently described as "one you could recognise from the other side of a football pitch."
The songs speak for themselves and come from the heart - for there is no other way.