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Fisher, Matthew - 1981 Strange Days
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on February 02 2012, In 1981 Articles , 0 Comments , 1723 Reads , Print

ARTIST: Fisher, Matthew
ALBUM: Strange Days
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: 6302 108
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1996, BGO Records (2 on 1), BGOCD 308


LINEUP: Matthew Fisher - lead vocals, keyboards, guitars * Peter Van Hooke, Terry Popple - drums * Alan Jones - bass * Ron Asprey - alto sax * Clair Torry, Val Stokes, Stephanie de Sykes, Dave Nevin, Steve Stroud - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Something I Should Have Known * 02 Without You * 03 Living In A Dream * 04 Why Can't You Lie To Me * 05 Only Yourself To Blame * 06 Desperate Measures * 07 Can't Stop Loving You Now * 08 She Makes Me Feel * 09 Take Me For A Ride * 10 Strange Days

BackgroundMatthew Fisher's 'Strange Days' was never an easy album to locate. Released only in West Germany; import copies were few and far between and it took BGO's mid-90s reissue backed with his 1980 self-titled jewel to finally bring the album to the masses. According to the label's typically skimpy liner notes, the former Procol Harum keyboard player's fourth and final studio effort was handled poorly by Mercury and although the company pulled two singles from the record, neither charted.

The Songs
Apparently Gary Numan's new wave electronics had a major impact on Fisher's approach to this recording although other than the moody opener 'Something I Should Have Known', I don't hear Numan as much of an influence to be honest. Focusing less on grandiose orchestral arrangements and more on synthesizers and new technologies was the hip direction taken by many artists in 1981, yet 'Strange Days' is still very much a radio friendly album. The first single 'Living In A Dream' had all the ingredients that made early 80s pop so wonderfully carefree while 'Why Can't You Lie To Me' touches on the same style Cliff Richard and Leo Sayer were reaping dividends from on a world-wide scale and why Mercury let this one slip away will forever be a mystery. Fisher's vocals are a dreamy mixture of Paul Simon and Colin Blunstone with touches of Chris Rainbow and of course his legendary Hammond makes the occasional appearance and is especially effective on the rocking 'Desperate Measures', but songs like the tender 'Can't Stop Loving You Now', the charming doo-whoppy 'Take Me For A Ride' and the closing Supertramp-ish title track more than proves Fisher was a consummate pop songwriter that deserved far more notoriety outside of Procol Harum than he was handed.

In Summary
Fisher returned to his former band for 1991's superb 'The Prodigal Stranger' and the equally excellent 'The Well's On Fire' released in 2003 although a lost 2008 lawsuit against Procol's Gary Brooker for back royalties from the evergreen 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' has more than likely put an end to any further collaborations.

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