Classic Cuts (June 2014)

Matt Taylor


When Aussie blues legend Matt Taylor departed from Australia’s premier blues rock band Chain in 1971 he went off to live on a farm in Beechworth (Victoria) where he began writing songs about nature and the search for a more spiritual existence. He released his first solo album Straight As A Die in August 1973.

The album opener, Mother Nature is a moderate tempo 12 bar blues foot-tapper which lyrically sets the tone for the album with Taylor singing about a new set of values. Brisbane To Beechworth is one of my favourite tracks on the album. It basically tells the story of his journey about leaving his home in Brisbane to go and live in Beechworth but letting us know that he still dreams of Queensland every now and then.

Simple Decision is a slow ballad featuring an acoustic steel guitar and reminds us that we indeed do have a simple decision to make; to do right and be good to one another. We’ll Never Be The Same Again is a faster and more desperately pleading song about how we have destroyed our planet, and god has decided to punish us by turning everything off.

Next up, with a track called Chickens he  gives a jab to the multi national corporations, in particular Colonel Sanders for exploiting chickens. ‘Chickens are not normal, they only live so we can give our money to Colonel Sanders’. Hall Of Fame is a slow sad blues dirge while Krishna loves you too is a more up tempo song which reveals  he has found some spiritual comfort and meaning in his life. The album closes with an interesting instrumental called Dance, which features harmonica and tabla.

From a session around this time , I remember When I Was Young was issued as a single and became a big hit, but was not included on the original album. However in 1997 it was included as a bonus track on the CD’s reissue.

Straight As A Die is a brilliant album in which Taylor is joined by his ex-Chain buddies Barry Harvey (drums), Barry Sullivan (bass) and Phil Manning on guitar. Both the vinyl and CD versions are currently unavailable so you will need to hunt up a  second hand copy, and you should, it will be well worth it. It’s still one of my favourite Aussie albums ever!

Ray McGrotty is the owner/manager of Record City Collectables, 433 Nepean Highway, Frankston. Record City stocks a vast array of memorabilia, cassettes and vinyl, rare and unseen releases as well as current favourites. If you’d like to suggest a Classic Cut, drop him a line at