Randy Matthews

Wish We'd All Been Ready Word 1971
 Wish We'd All Been Ready
 Easy Movin'
Probably the most adventurous album that Word released back then - still if you're more acquainted with the gritty-voiced rocker from Son of Dust, then Randy's debut will surprise you in its tameness. Randy's voice is certainly restrained here - not his fault I'm sure. Probably Word execs thinking "hmmmm, we don't wanna go too far'. That opportunity would come later. Billy Ray Hearn production seems to have opted for an overall pop/gospel feel, lots of piano, female backing singers, bit of electric here and there. Sometimes a bit too smooth, other times kinda churchy. An important album, but better things were ahead. KS

All I Am Is What You See Myrrh 1972
 All I Am Is What You See
 Leader Liberator
One of the first lps to be issued on the brand new Myrrh label. Hair's a bit longer and it appears that permission was given to be more radical in the music (note the fuzz guitar solo in the opener 'Revolutionary Cause'). Much more satisfying than Wish We'd All Been Ready, still overall pretty light, sporadically softened with strings. Some memorable ballads in 'Johnny' and 'Time To Pray'. In the acoustic category is the excellent title track and 'Flesh of My Flesh' which has an Eastern flavor to it. Power horns on the rockers work ok. Closes with the concert favorite 'Country Faith.' KS

Son Of Dust Myrrh 1973
 Didn't He
 Holy Band
All sweeteners were thankfully put aside for this the quintessential Matthews opus. At last Randy truly sounds like a rocker here. The vocal transformation is especially apparent, making albums one and two sound like easy listening. Guitar, piano, occasional organ, banjo, and steel successfully zero in on that quasi-Neil-Young sound, especially 'Brown-Eyed Woman' and 'Pharoah's Hand'. Honest lyrics, like 'It Ain't Easy' stating "wanna go to heaven but I'm scared to die". Contains the classic ballad 'Didn't He'. This also makes the third straight album where he's not smiling on the cover - I like that. KS

Now Do You Understand? Myrrh 1975
 Sunny Day
 Bad Has Made It Better
Classic double live lp featuring nothing but Randy and guitar for 68 minutes, revealing a portrait not discernable from his studio works: Randy the kid that hasn't grown up; Randy the ham-it-up cornball; Randy the quavery-voiced hippie with the childlike faith. This is Randy at the peak of his space cowboy era: long scraggly hair, round Lennon specs, and a silver space suit (huh?). All dialogue and audience interaction are preserved. stretching simple songs like 'Country Faith' out to ten minutes, or stopping to have a dialogue with God, or telling stories about life on the road with a five-gallon jar of dill pickles in the trunk for sustenance. It's quite apparent from all this that Randy is very weird - who else would ask Jesus between songs if He ever had a pastrami on rye? You'll love him for it though, and while he may be ridiculous and an absolute loon one moment, the next he'll seem on the verge of tears in his seriousness. Few artists bare their emotions like this guy. Listening to this album encourages me to discard the facades and re-gain a child-like attitude in life. Other albums have entertained me more, but this one ministers as well. KS

Eyes To The Sky Myrrh 1976
 It Took A Carpenter
 In The Morning
Produced by Austin Roberts, Randy's fourth studio lp is more pop-ish than Son Of Dust - mid-rocking material with more BGV's and polish in the mix. 'Pennsylvania Song' documents Randy's being unplugged before a concert crowd of 25,000: "you pulled the plug and drained my soul, but I know I left a ring around the tub of tradition, I saw some dance and sing". Also contains the classic acoustic ballad 'Oh My' ("I talked with junkies, I ate with whores, I stuck your stickers on bar room doors") and the somewhat controversial 'Captain'. Closes with the hard-rockin''Four Horseman'. KS

The Best of Randy Matthews Myrrh 1977

Live In Australia Rhema 1978
 Mic Test
 Miracle Man
Released only in Australia, this disc could easily pass as a third lp in the Now Do You Understand? set as there's no duplication of tunes. Set-up is virtually the same with just guitar and mike and humorous blurbs in between that solidly confirm Randy as supreme loon. Golly, he's even still got that shiny silver space jacket. The Matthews collector will definitely want to seek out this his most obscure release, especially since it's got several songs that are unavailable elsewhere. My 45 minute tape clicked off about 1/3rd of the way into side 2. KS