Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Matchstick Men

January, 1968.  A psychedelic pop song called Pictures of Matchstick Men hits the charts, and man, was it trippy.   Vaguely drug-related lyrics, wah-wah guitar, and one of the early examples of the phaser effect.  OK, it was closer to bubble-gum than, say Cream or Led Zeppelin, but it was cool.

And then they were gone.

Fast forward to July, 1985.  Along with nearly two billion of my closest friends, I watched Live Aid.  The Wembley section of the concert opens up with this high energy bunch of British rockers who don’t seem to have left the 60’s.  They remind me of The Kinks, or any number of British Invasion groups I’d forgotten.  Didn’t catch their name, but they put on a great set.

And then they were gone.

Fast forward to early this century.  I’ve entered the digital age and I’m surfing the web looking for old tunes I once had on vinyl but can’t find on CD.  I go looking for Pictures of Matchstick Men, and find dozens of songs by Status Quo.  Oh!  That was that band from Live Aid.  Why didn’t I know about this?

From the 60’s through the 90’s, these guys reflected back a little of what was popular, but never wavered from their honest delivery of straight-ahead, stand-up, rock ‘n’ roll.

Funny how they never made it this side of the Atlantic.  They seem have a loyal following in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe, and they deliver a similar brand of music to many other bands – British and American – that have made it and endured.  It’s a pity.  These guys should have been rockin’ all over the world.

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