ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 6, 1985
By Steve Newton
Charlie Daniels once wrote a tune called “Long Haired Country Boy” in which he sang: “If you don’t like the way I’m livin’, you just leave this long haired country boy alone.”
That line pretty well sums up the attitude of Maritime rocker Matt Minglewood–over the year’s he’s stayed true to the honky-tonkin’ blues/rock lifestyle, neither changing his ways to garner radio airplay or please a record company (although he did take a half-step towards a mainstream sound once…and paid dearly for it.)
Now Charlie Daniels himself has caught on to the authentic spirit of Matt Minglewood. The big fiddle player has taken the title track of Minglewood’s new album, Me and the Boys, and made it the title track of his new album.
“If he sells a hundred million copies I’ll be extremely happy,” chuckled Matt during a break at The Metro last Saturday (November 30). “And wealthy too.”
Me and the Boys is Minglewood’s seventh album, his first on the tiny independent Savannah label based in Mississauga, Ontario. His previous albums on RCA–Minglewood Band, Movin’, Out On A Limb, and Smokers–did fairly well (he’s sold over 200,000 LPs in Canada alone), but when he took off the cowboy hat in ’82 and went for a more “accessible” sound on his one album for CBS, M5, things backfired a bit.
“I don’t think my fans were ready for that,” says Matt. “You know, the people that supported me weren’t ready for a ‘mainstream’ record–and that’s about as close as I can get to mainstream rock and roll.”
Matt’s back on the track with Me and the Boys, which is not only getting rock airplay, but a lot of country airplay as well. It could be his most country/rock-based album yet.
“The only other on that would come close to Me and the Boys would be the one I did with Duck Dunn [Eric Clapton’s bassist] in Memphis. Movin’ was kinda R&B, country-blues, which is what this one is too.”
As well as old favorites like “Can’t You See”, Matt showcased his new tunes at The Metro last weekend, and they went over well with the no-frills, down-home crowd that has always been Minglewood’s bread and butter. One of the rockingest tunes on the new record is the two-part “Crossroads/Four O’Clock in the Morning”, which features a guest appearance by David Wilcox on slide guitar.
“David’s a friend of mine,” explains Matt, “and we were drunk one day. I told him I was gonna do an album, and he said, ‘Well here’s one guy that wants to play on it. Just one song. We’ll get drunk and crazy and I don’t want any producers around.’ And since I was producing it, that was no problem.”
The song is a “broken man’s anthem”–but a humorous one–with a little rap from Matt about finding his woman in the arms of another man. The tune utilizes a few choice words a la MacLean & MacLean, who Minglewood actually mentions during the song. Seems they’re friends of his as well.
“You meet a lot of people on the road, but there’s some people that you just get close to, that you can bare your soul with and stuff. And David and MacLean & MacLean are those kinda people.”
When I spoke with Minglewood, he had one more B.C. gig left–a Sunday date at Whistler. And then it would be Maritime time.
“I’m gonna fly home to Cape Breton, and get drunk with my friends, and play with the kids, and take the horse for a run, and…that’ll be it!”
In closing I threw him the old “keep rockin'” goodbye.
“I will,” he promised. “I know nothing else.”