Tabitha’s Secret ~ Don’t Play With Matches Released in 1998 on JTJ Records Pop Rock/Alternative Rock 1.3 A.M. 2.Forever December 3.Here Comes Horses 4.Paint Me Blue 5.Dear Joan 6.High 7.Unkind 8.Jesus Was an Alien 9.Tired 10.Swing 11.3 A.M. (remix) 12.Forever December (remix) 13.Dizzy (bonus track) The Album: This was singer and songwriter Rob Thomas, bassist Brian Yale, and drummer Paul Doucette’s band prior to Matchbox 20. Tabitha’s Secret began to fall apart even before this album was released. Thomas, Yale, and Doucette left the band and formed Matchbox 20 in 1995 and released their first album in 1996 even before “Don’t Play With Matches” was released. This left band members John Stanley and John Goff , who had refused to sign a long term record contract, on their own. The album title is a punch at the previous band members . This album contains the highly recognizable song “3 a.m.”, which was originally written and performed by the band Tabitha’s Secret and later remixed, re-mastered, and overdubbed. This song also appears on the first album release by Matchbox 20 and was the subject of a 5 year long law suit which was settled in 2000. For the most part, the album is acoustic and contains the demo’s of the original band members. The production on this album is decent. This album shows the unmistakable vocals of Rob Thomas before he had the guidance from the producers at Atlantic Records. Rob’s voice is crisp and mellower in these songs. This album is a much better version of “Matchbox 20”, IMO. It is raw and untethered by the influences of the pop music scene. The lyrics are brilliant and the music is beautiful. The first 9 tracks on the album were actually produced by the band members and are the true demo’s of Tabitha’s Secret. Tracks 9-12 had the help of a professional producer, hence the reason for the remixes to appear on the album plus you get a bonus hidden track “Dizzy”. This album is a must have for anyone who likes Rob Thomas or Matchbox 20. The Music: 3 a.m. ~This is the actual demo of the song. Quite different from the Matchbox 20 recording or the Tabitha’s Secret remix. This version has a nice acoustic vibe. Forever December ~The demo version, and a much better version, IMO. The remix is too long. This song starts off as a folk-like song then picks up pace. A great find for some early Rob Thomas material. Here Comes Horses~ Another demo. This is a very beautiful song. Rob’s vocals and the harmony vocals are simply magnificent. This would later become a notable music styling of Matchbox 20, the lyrical and vocally harmonizing ballads. Paint Me Blue~ Another demo. The lyrics of this song are brilliant. A song that any Matchbox 20 fan will like. This song is very representative of the pop-rock band that Matchbox 20 would be come. Dear Joan~Another demo. An acoustic song. Very pretty song, which showed that Rob Thomas could write some great songs. This song also has a cello addition, which is a nice touch. High~ ~ and excellent song. I liked this song, although some would just find the song to be filler for the album. Unkind~ Another demo that is in keeping with the style of Rob Thomas. Again the lyrics are fantastic and so are the harmonies. Jesus was an Alien~ This song has a mind blowing piano intro and a nice piano outro. This is my favorite song off this album. The lyrics are fantastic. There is a very notable guitar solo mid song. This song speaks volumes for what this band could have become in the future. Tired~This is my least favorite of the demo’s. Not a bad song, but I think the lyrical subject was lacking. The song is fast paced and shows that Tabitha’s Secret could jam. Swing~ An transitional song. This song hints at what was to come from Matchbox 20, yet still has the subtle sounds of Tabitha’s Secret. This song goes from one extreme to the other. Starts off slow then adds a guitar crunch, and this pattern repeats throughout the song. 3 a.m. (remix)~ Not a huge difference in the first version, except the intro. This version is a bit mellower, too. Forever December(remix}~This version is longer than the demo with a better sound enhancement. Also on the album there is a huge gap of dead space before the bonus track begins. This is a huge flaw, big big flaw. Dizzy~A bonus on the album. Nothing new musically speaking, but a nice addition. A very slow paced acoustic song. This album is a must have for any Matchbox 20 fan or anyone who likes Rob Thomas. Definitely a collectors album. My rating for listening pleasure 3.5/5.