It’s Happy Birthday to David Matthews, although by the time I get this posted, today, Thursday March 4th, Dave’s birthday will have passed where he lives in Japan.
If Bob James was my gateway drug to the music of Creed Taylor productions, David Matthews was definitely my drug of choice in the 1970’s. Many will know Dave’s work, certainly from the time he started with Creed’s KUDU label. Few know his before and after story. It would be easy to add a mix of stompin’ Dave Matthews arranged, written, or produced funk and soul. However, like many of the artists that recorded for Creed, Dave had his own backstory as a musician both before and certainly after his work with Creed.
As CTI/KUDU wound down from the fallout of fighting a battle on too many fronts, Dave continued recording through contacts and financing with King Records and subsidiaries, first with Electric Bird, later Paddle Wheel, both imprints for King Records. In 2019, Dave with Eddie Gomez and Steve Gadd released a new CD in 2018, called Sir.
Dave and I exchanged messages last year where he indicated a willingness to talk. The only reason why we didn’t was because I felt I needed to earn my chops and show I could do research and write useful content rather than be a fanboi. I do hope that offer is still open, and that I can catch-up with Dave soon.
Last years Birthday fourfer for Dave is here. For this year, I’ve put a slightly longer set together, while I usually try to limit these mixes to tracks recorded for Creed produced artists and labels, I’ve cut myself some slack here to allow some of Dave’s post CTI/KUDU work.
“Fourfer” opens with the title track, Sir from the 2018/2019 CD; and then moves to Silent Running, from Dave’s ill-fated 1977 CTI album, Dune; third track is Funky Turkey from Dave’s 1980 Delta Lady album on Electric Bird; then back to Muad’Dib from Dune; then onto tracks Dave recorded and produced for others, Theme For New York City – from Idris Muhammad’s 1976 KUDU album, House of the Rising Sun; and lastly the track Spain from the Art Farmer, and Yusef Lateef 1977 CTI album, Something You Got.
One common theme to these albums is just the incredible depth of talent on them, both a tribute to Dave, and for the CTI related albums, a measure of the continuing appeal of an ensemble style musical collaboration. Of special note is that Dave Matthews and Steve Gadd worked together on Bonnie Raitt’s 1974 album, Streetlights. You can’t get enough of a good thing!
Update: March 25th, 2021 6pm Minor emphasis change in text.