This June 2008 Expanded And Remastered CD (Beat Goes On BGOCD807) features the 3rd and last album for Ian Matthews short-lived but superb folk-rock group MATTHEWS SOUTHERN COMFORT.
THE ALBUM breaks down as follows (55:48 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 11 are the British track listing for the album "Later That Same Year" released in the UK in November 1970 on MCA Records MKPS 2015. It was recorded at Morgan Studios in London and produced by IAN MATTHEWS. "Later That Same Year" was belatedly released in the USA (as was the "Woodstock" single) on Decca DL 75264 in April 1971 and had a different 11-track run. If you want to sequence the US LP version from this CD it runs as follows:
Side 1: 12, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Side 2: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
[Note: Track 4 on Side 1 of the UK LP - "Jonah"- was left off the US LP]
Tracks 12 and 15 are "Woodstock" and "Scion" - their biggest hit single. Although she famously didn't attend the August 1969 3-day concert, Joni Mitchell wrote "Woodstock" about the event, which she initially gave to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. They put out a rocking version of it on their 2nd album from early 1970 "Déjà Vu" which Ian heard and loved. However, Matthews slowed the song down and softened the feel considerably - and in doing so - he somehow captured the positive vibe of the time. "Woodstock" was first released in July 1970 in the UK on Uni Records UNS 521 with "Scion" as its B-side (both tracks were non-album at the time). Constant BBC Radio 1 airplay it eventually saw it crawl to Number 1 in September 1970. Rather stupidly MCA didn't include it on the UK LP so "Later That Same Year" didn't even crack the Top 50 album chart - even with a Number 1 single buzzing around it. The US single on Decca 32774 was issued in April 1971 with "Ballad Of Obray Ramsey" as its B-side (see note below) where it reached number 23 on the charts.
Tracks 13 and 14 are also non-album songs. Track 13 "The Struggle" was the B-side to "Colorado Springs Eternal" a single lifted from their debut album "Matthews Southern Comfort"; the 45 was issued January 1970 in the UK on Uni Records UNS 513 and is said to feature Richard Thompson of Fairport Convention on Guitar.
Track 14 "Parting" was the B-side to "Ballad Of Obray Ramsey" another single but this time lifted off their 2nd LP "Second Spring"; the 45 was issued May 1970 in the UK on Uni Records UNS 521.
I'd have to say that a downside for US fans is the exclusion of "Ballad Of Obray Ramsey" the USA B-side to "Woodstock" - but it is available on another BGO release which gathers up the first and second albums in their entirety onto 1 CD - "Matthews Southern Comfort" and "Second Spring" on BGOCD 313 from 2004.
The original tapes have been remastered by ANDREW THOMPSON at SOUND PERFORMANCE and the transfer is stunningly clean and clear - a really great job done - especially after having to do with budget-label dull-sounding CDs until now. The 8-page booklet has informative and affectionate liner notes by noted compiler DAVID WELLS and there's a classy card wrap on the outside (a sort of visual trademark for BGO releases in the last few years).
I've always thought that "Later That Same Year" was their best album. There's three superb Matthews originals - "And Me", "My Lady" and "Road To Ronderlin". Even better (and a source of consternation within the band) are the three goodies from guitarist CARL BARNWELL - especially the gorgeous "Sylvie" (lyrics above), which practically defines their mellow and laid back sound. Other notables are the last track on Side 1 "And When She Smiles" and the opening track of Side 2 "Mare, Take Me Home" which were both written by Alan C Anderson ("Big" Al) of the US band THE WILDWEEDS who had a lone album appear in early 1970 in the US on Vanguard VSD 6552. He later joined NRBQ and is still active in writing country songs to this day. The Carole King cover "To Love" (off her "Writer" LP) is a jaunty opener while their version of Neil Young's "Tell Me Why" is as lovely as his "After The Gold Rush" original.
So there you have it - a really good album, a beautiful remaster and it's all properly presented too.
For those who love their Seventies mellow and melodious - this superb little CD is heartily recommended.
PS: see also my review for their first two albums (also from 1970) - Matthews Southern Comfort/Second Spring - another superb Beat Goes On CD Remaster