Dancin' in the Sea
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 3:17PM
Jennifer Mandel


Aside from Richard Thompson and of course Sandy Denny, Ian Matthews is one of my favorite singers to have come out of the Fairport Convention conglomeration.  Present on some of Fairport's best albums (in my estimation), Matthews went on to have a modicum of success as a solo artist. 

"Some Days You Eat The Bear....And Some Days The Bear Eats You" is a nice mix of covers and originals, the latter represented beautifully in the song "Keep on Sailing."  He has no fear of cover songs, which thrive when passed under the rainbow of his golden voice, and run the gamut from Tom Waits ("Ol' 55") to Jesse Winchester ("Biloxi") to The Dan ("Dirty Work").  With the exception of "The Fault," which sounds exactly like "Welcome to the Machine" (Pink Floyd, of course), the production takes on a smooth country-rock feel, influenced, no doubt, but the whole early 70's Jackson Browne/Troubadour/Eagles/Linda Ronstadt California-country era.  The only gaffe is the rhyme of "wife" with "life" in one of his songs.  But hey - it was the 70's - that was still allowed back then. 

The studio lineup on this album is not too shabby: Jeff "Skunk" Baxter on guitars,  David Lindley on lap steel, B.J. Cole on pedal steel, and even Billy Graham on bass and fiddle.  (No, it's not that Billy Graham.  C'mon people.) 

Thee Perfessor and I have discovered several of his albums in the Dollar Bin, and we haven't been sorry; this album is getting heavy airplay in my house and I highly recommend it. 

Condition:  Vinyl = excellent; Cover = fair (lots of edge fraying, nicks, and radio ID scrawl)

Wine Pairing: Beer, roasted almonds, and candlelight

Score: Worth full price paid ($1.99)

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