Matthew and Son is the first album by English singer-songwriter Cat Stevens. Stevens began writing songs during his early teenage years. His earliest influences included the sound of early British bands, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, influenced by popular American Rhythm and Blues music. At the same time, folk influences from artists like Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel left a strong mark on him, along with some of the musicals being performed so close to his childhood home in Soho, that often he could hear the songs drifting up through his room. Stevens's older brother, David Gordon, attracted the attention of music producer Mike Hurst, formerly of The Springfields, in hopes of finding a producer interested in his younger brother's music. After a demo was recorded, a deal was struck between the two. The album was not released until 1967; however, recording began on 10 July 1966, with a few advance singles appearing around that time.
Although the album was not released until 1967, the first advance single, "I Love My Dog" was released in 1966. It was initially recorded only by Stevens' guitars, piano & vocals. However, Hurst encouraged Stevens to add a staccato, tympani–and–viola arrangement; this was something that had not done before on pop music songs. Bassist John Paul Jones makes his debut on the first singles two years before becoming a member of Led Zeppelin. The lyrics for the B-side of the first single, "Portobello Road," were written by Kim Fowley, who encouraged Stevens to compose a melody for the song. The single initially reached No. 28 on the UK charts, followed by "Matthew and Son," the next single and title track, which soared to No. 2 on the charts there, propelling Stevens into a popular clean-cut teenage crooner.
Matthew And Son was released in 1967, eventually reaching No. 7 in the UK. The album track "Here Comes My Baby," as covered by the The Tremeloes, was a smash hit, reaching No. 4, "I've Found A Love" was covered by British singer David Garrick, but it failed to chart, while Stevens's own "I'm Gonna Get Me a Gun" reached #6.
Music critic Robert Christgau of The Village Voice later called Matthew and Son "a rarity: a forgotten record that shouldn't be", and said that both its title track and "I Love My Dog" were "two rock songs we should have heard more of in 1967".AllMusic's Bruce Eder gave it three-and-a-half out of five stars and said that "it's very distant from the sound that Stevens was ultimately known for, and in many ways, it's more dated than what he did for Island/A&M, but it's much more self-consciously accessible, arranged in different styles".