Ok, so the sleeve note’s are telling me that Matchbox were one of the most successful singles bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but I must confess that their popularity hit its peak just as my interest in the charts was waning and as a result they’re a new one on me. But that’s not to say I didn’t recognise a few of the tunes on here, most of all Rockabilly Rebel…which had me singing along and knowing all the words (I have no idea where that came from!).

Matchbox released their first single for Dawn Records in 1975 but didn’t sign to Magnet until 1979 after getting a reputation with the gig going public and the music press as a great live band.

The lineup that signed to Magnet was Graham Fenton (lead vocals), Fred Poke (bass), Jimmie Redhead (drums), Gordon Scott (rhythm guitar) and Steve Bloomfield (lead guitarist) and the record company partnered them with producer Peter Collins to give a poppy feel to their authentic rock and roll style…and it is pretty infectious stuff it has to be said – bother their cover versions and their self penned numbers alike.

Matchbox stayed with Magnet for four years popping out four albums and an impressive thirteen singles with eight of those charting in the UK top 75. They continue to play live with the original band to this day and I reckon they’d be a hoot to go to see.

My record collection is pretty sparse with the old rock and roll but I have to say I really enjoyed this record. It’s not sophisticated stuff and each of the 32 tracks herein conform to the rock and roll legal requirement of coming in at less than four minutes…the vast majority under three and so ideal for radio play which will have had a good deal to play in their success. Highlights to me were unknowingly knowing a few of the tunes and the absolutely fabulous Crazy Haze (recorded as Cyclone) that sounds like the theme from Benny Hill on speed.

Not my usual listen but this will get dug out when we have a party for sure.

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