Valley Hi/Some Days You Eat the Bear and Some Days the Bear Eats You

Valley Hi/Some Days You Eat the Bear and Some Days the Bear Eats You

by Ian MatthewsIan Matthews


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Ian Matthews recorded a pair of solid albums for Elektra during the early '70s: Valley Hi, produced by Michael Nesmith, and Some Days You Eat the Bear and Some Days the Bear Eats You, which was self-produced. While it may seem less obvious in 2004, at the time country-rock hadn't been completely co-opted by groups like the Eagles. When Nesmith and Matthews combined an eclectic singer/songwriter set list with country-flavored arrangements on Valley Hi in 1973, it sounded fresh and exciting. The element that sticks out most today is the high quality of familiar songs chosen for the album, including Steve Young's "Seven Bridges Road," Jackson Browne's "These Days," and Richard Thompson's "Shady Lies." The only element that dates the music here is the pop sheen that's been added to Matthews' fine tenor, creating a mismatch between the album's vocal and instrumental approaches. Perhaps this is the reason why Some Days You Eat the Bear balances out better overall. On lovely cuts like Danny Whitten's "I Don't Want to Talk About It," the steel guitar and fiddle have been traded for a more straightforward production that works better with Matthews' vocals. For a real comparison between the albums, all a listener needs to do is check out the two versions of "Keep on Sailing," the first with piano and dobro, the latter with pedal steel and saxophone. Even if the latter album gets the slight nod, both work together well as a package and provide a satisfying snapshot of a fine singer as he developed into a songwriter in 1973-1974.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/24/2017
Label: Imports
UPC: 5017261212726
catalogNumber: 3533623
Rank: 37623

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ian Matthews   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
David Lindley   Lap Steel Guitar
Michael Nesmith   Guitar
Lyn Dobson   Saxophone
Richard Greene   Fiddle
Red Rhodes   Dobro,Steel Guitar
Andy Roberts   Acoustic Guitar
Byron Berline   Fiddle
Michael Curtis   Mandolin
David Dickey   Bass
Michael Fonfara   Piano
Steve Gillette   Acoustic Guitar
Billy Graham   Bass,Fiddle
Jay Lacy   Guitar
Danny Lane   Drums
Willie Leacox   Drums
Danny Weis   Acoustic Guitar
Bob Warford   Guitar
David Barry   Organ,Piano,Keyboards
Jeff "Skunk" Baxter   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Don Gibson   Composer
Steve Young   Composer
Jackson Browne   Composer
Gene Clark   Composer
Donald Fagen   Composer
Michael Nesmith   Composer,Producer
Randy Newman   Composer
Tom Waits   Composer
Jesse Winchester   Composer
Pete Dello   Composer
Andy Roberts   Arranger
Walter Becker   Composer
Terry Dunavan   Engineer
Ian Matthews   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Fritz Richmond   Engineer
Linda Thompson   Composer
Danny Whitten   Composer
Brian D. McLaughlin   Cover Design,Back Cover Photo
Traditional   Composer
Bruce Atkins   Cover Illustration
Dave Richards   Arranger

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