Monday, April 30, 2012


          Riding on the school bus to Merrillville Junior High School was no great pleasure for me back in the early 1960s.   If it had not been for the fact that Mr. Ifyu, the bus driver, had speakers in the bus and kept the radio dialed to top forty Chicago station WLS the ride could have been miserable.  As it were, I tolerated that ride and often just got lost in the music.

The Zombies (album)Image via Wikipedia          It was always a pleasure when a tune by the Zombies would air.  The hits "She's Not There" or "Tell Her No" were popular in 1964 as I was starting 8th grade.  Songs in a minor key seem to grab me.  Dream songs should be in a minor key.

           Later, when I was in high school and my family had moved to East Tennessee, the great Zombies album Odyssey and Oracle was released.  This is the one Zombies album that I actually owned.  I spent many hours with this album playing in the background of my life.  I lived and dreamed to this album.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Neil Young

           It was probably about 1970.  My dear friend Fred and I were staying with our friend Forrest in an old mobile home his parents had in some neglected resort development that was rapidly falling into a state of decay.

I've Been Waiting for You (Neil Young song)Image via Wikipedia
          The early morning sunlight was streaming through the windows of the room where I was sleeping.  But that's not what woke me up.  What woke me was very beautiful music.  The music was a string quartet at first and then a man singing.  I lay in bed for awhile listening to the music.  Golden particles of dust floated in the sun rays that gave me a warm feeling as I lay there listening to the melancholy music.

        On another day I was at the Hydraulic Lift, a head shop on the Cumberland Avenue strip near the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  I was killing some time after classes.  They sold records at the Lift and I was browsing through the records.  Music was playing and a floral scent of incense filled the store.  I didn't recognize the music but it was some of the finest and most haunting music I had ever heard.  I breathed the scent of incense and became lost in the music.

         In both cases the music I was listening to was Neil Young.   In the first case it was the first album and then at the Lift it was the second album.   I was hooked.  When I was in the record store I bought a copy of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere as soon as I found out who it was.  Soon after I bought the first album.  After that I bought every album that Neil Young released.

         Now, forty years later, Neil Young is still one of my favorite artists and I listen to his music frequently.  He can rock hard, but my favorite songs are the dreamy sounding ones.  Neil can write some great songs to dream by.

         Today's song choice--"After the Goldrush"--is about a dream.

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Friday, April 27, 2012


        Although I was aware of this band in the 1980s, I was not a fan.  Never owned an album and didn't listen to most music in this style.   But I often read about John Doe and Exene Cervenka, the two key members of this punk rock group, in Rolling Stone and other music magazines.

        When I was traveling with a road show during that decade, I can recall often tuning in to some Saturday night punk/new wave music show.  I didn't know what I was watching but it was mostly weird performance-wise and grating music-wise. But I watched it anyway because it was--well, shall I say--somewhat riveting.  Kind of like a bad accident.

          Late Saturday nights, usually after having driven for a few hours, in a strange motel in a strange town, watching this weird music show.   I vaguely remember.  It was kind of like live wrestling except it was punk rock music.   X was probably one of the groups that often appeared on this show.  Couldn't tell you now.  Don't care too much.

          A band called X just seemed like an appropriate band to talk about for the letter "X".

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Porter Wagoner

The Best of Porter Wagoner and Dolly PartonImage via Wikipedia
           When I was in high school back in the 1960s, I didn't have much of a social life.   I can recall on Saturday afternoons how I'd turn on the TV and watch country music shows like Bonnie Lou and Buster, the Stoneman Family, and Porter Wagoner.   During that period, Porter Wagoner featured on his show a young singer with big blonde hair.  This singer was Dolly Parton and for many years she was a regular on Wagoner's show and on his tours.

           Back then I swore I didn't like country music, yet something about these shows fascinated me.  The music and the artists started to become dear to me as I began to appreciate their music.  As country-rock became popular so did some of these roots artists become popular with the rock crowd.  That's when I became a country music fan.  After all, a lot of country music is really just rock and roll with fiddles and steel guitars and sung with twangy country drawls.

               Porter Wagoner's 1965 hit "Green, Green Grass of Home" is one of the best dream songs ever.  Many readers will most likely be more familiar with the version sung by Tom Jones, but Porter sang it first.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Ventures

         Back in 1964 or so I'd spend hours on my bedroom floor, building models of cars, planes, and monsters from kits I'd bought at the dime store.  I had a portable record player that I kept turning with albums by groups like Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, The Beach Boys, and The Beatles.  One album that received as much play as any of them was The Ventures in Space.

        The song "Sleepwalk" was not on that album, but it's a standard that I had heard by many other groups. The Ventures are a group that might be heard in my dreams.   The song "Sleepwalk" would be an appropriate choice for a dream soundtrack.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

United States of America

         Uh, that's the psychedelic rock group not the country.   United States of America was an inventive group that appeared on the rock music scene in 1967 and disappeared soon after, but not before leaving behind one incredible album.  The band members were all highly skilled serious musicians who went on to distinguished careers after their short forays into the rock music world.

         In my opinion the album by USofA is one of the best psychedelic albums of all time.  For that reason I offer another cut from the album--something a bit more mellow.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Tiny Tim

Tiny TimCover of Tiny Tim

        This one is for you Stephen T. McCarthy.

        Bizarre, funny, and misunderstood.  Tiny Tim was seen more as a silly singer of novelty tunes than the the talented artist that he was.   Sure, he capitalized on his outre status--why not?  If it sold records and got him gigs, why not take advantage of what people expected.  All people are strange if you really think about it and Tiny Tim was honest about it.

        Here's a story:  Back in 1980 I went on a short tour with a very funny magician named Chuck Windley.  We were playing dates in the Northeast United States during the Christmas season.   After setting out from Charlotte, North Carolina, we pulled an all-nighter travelling to New England.  With the coming of daylight we reached New York City.  As we entered the Holland Tunnel, Chuck driving his mid-seventies model Cadillac pulling a battered trailer filled with show equipment, we were giddy and blurry-eyed from a long night of driving and laughing and just being plain silly.  When we emerged from the other side of the tunnel in the gray haze of early morning, the first person we saw on the street was Tiny Tim.

        Yes, it was him as big as life. There was no mistaking this.  Another burst of laughter erupted inside the Caddy.   It was too strange and wonderful.   We were strange because people are strange.  And life is often strange like a dream.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Erik Satie

        I had so many choices for the letter "S".   It could have been one of my favorites Franz Schubert.  Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" surely could rank as dream music.   Or in modern music I could have gone with great groups like Spirit, Spanky and Our Gang, Strawberry Alarm Clock, or even Santana.  Solo artists like Frank Sinatra, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, or Selena also might have been considered.

Erik Satie (1866-1925) croppedImage via Wikipedia        In the final analysis, it had to be Erik Satie.   Part of the impressionist movement, precursor to the minimalist movement, Satie's music is at times quirky and at other times hauntingly beautiful.  Always dreamlike though.  Satie wrote music to dream by.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Rotary Connection

        One of the notable alumni of Rotary Connection was Minnie Riperton, a singer with incredible vocal range who gave us the song "Loving You" after she went on to a solo career.  Rotary Connection was a psychedelic soul vocal group that specialized in highly stylized cover versions of songs by other artists and elaborately produced soundscapes.

         The album that stands out for me the most is Aladdin, consisting of original songs themed after the album title.  Like so many other great vinyl that I bought in the 1970s, I found this album in the cut-out bin and bought it for a song.  I ended up with a collection of great songs and got hours of listening pleasure from this dreamy album.

          My song pick from Aladdin is "Magical World"--a beautiful song.  The accompanying video is like a dream.  The album is like a dream.  I must be dreaming.  Please don't wake me up.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quicksilver Messenger Service

Happy Trails (album)Image via Wikipedia

            One of the best of the psychedelic bands, I've heard that Quicksilver Messenger Service was at its best in live performance.   Evidence of this can be heard on the Happy Trails album.  Some hate the album while others think it's a masterpiece.  All I know is that it got a lot of spins on my turntable when I was in college.

           The track called "Calvary" is particularly haunting.  That song fits well into my dream soundtrack.  Likewise, the Shady Grove album was another one of my favorites.  Say what you will, I like this album.  It's got kind of a weird sound.  More music for my dreams.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Prefab Sprout

A Life of Surprises – The Best of Prefab SproutImage via Wikipedia

      With some of the most perfect sounding pop songs ever, but with
lyrics that are as deep as dreams in the dark night, Prefab Sprout burrows into my deepest self.  Memories of years gone by,  nearly forgotten friends and lovers, and the whys of my life that never seemed to get answered are sung in the songs of Prefab Sprout.


         I am in the past on a road in a place familiar and yet not quite known.  Traveling.  Dreaming.  Dreaming of life and love and loss.   Why do some things happen and others do not?
       I remember and then I forget, until I vaguely remember again.  Again.

      And Prefab Sprout plays my dreams like a hit parade of memories.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Roy Orbison

Roy OrbisonCover of Roy Orbison

        When I first heard Roy Orbison's recording of "Oh, Pretty Woman",  I was just entering my second year of  junior high school in Merrillville, Indiana.  I absolutely fell in love with the song.  Orbison's plaintive voice really added to the yearning that the song expressed--a yearning that I as a young adolescent understood so well.

          After that hit, Roy Orbison was on my radar as he came up with one hit after another over the next few decades.  In the 1980s, surrealistic film director David Lynch included Orbison's "In Dreams" in a bizarre sequence of his film Blue Velvet.  At first offended, Orbison later recognized the ingenious use of the song in the film sequence.

         As his career was experiencing a resurgence, Roy Orbison died from a heart attack in 1988 at age 52.  His haunting catalog of music would make a good soundtrack for anyone's dreams.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

New Vaudeville Band

         Here's an odd one.  It's also an odd story.  "Winchester Cathedral" was a campy novelty song that became a hit in late 1966.  The song and album that it was on became so popular that a tour of the New Vaudeville Band was requested.  Problem was there was no band.  The record had been recorded in the studio with assembled musicians.

        A band was put together in order to capitalize on the popularity of the record.  They toured for a short while until the novelty wore off.  The New Vaudeville Band faded into musical history and most younger people today have probably never even heard this song relic.

       It's like a dream to me now.  My mother bought the album when it was popular.  The music appealed to her as much as it did to me and my sister.  I had just entered high school at that time.   The record was played often in our household.  I remember seeing the album around the house for several years afterward but eventually it faded away like the band and like a dream is forgotten when we stop thinking about it.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mandrake Memorial

Mandrake MemorialImage via Wikipedia


        Mandrake Memorial's Puzzle album has some mind-bending cover art by optical illusionist M.C. Escher.  That in itself is a clue that the music contained within is going to be different to say the least.   The band combines psychedelic rock with stately baroque and classical styles to offer up a magical blend of music conducive to the dreamer's mind.

          The band was formed in Philadelphia in the late 1960s and recorded three albums.  They were a hit locally and attained a cult status on the psychedelic scene, but they never achieved enough popularity to make it big.  For the band the dream was over, but we can still enjoy the incredible dream music of Mandrake Memorial since it is still available.

         I would recommend any of their albums, but Puzzle is their absolute masterpiece.  This is music to dream by.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

John Lennon

          "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one," said John Lennon in his song Imagine.  I don't agree with all of the sentiments of that beautiful song, but I think Lennon meant well with it.  John was an idealist and a dreamer.  It comes through in his music.

John Lennon                                                       Cover of John Lennon

          It was sad that his life had to be ended as it was, but we were left with a legacy of great music from his days as a Beatle, through his stage of wanting to bring about world change, and until those final years when he focused on being a family man.

         Dreaming is a theme that is evoked by many of his songs and now we have them to share in his dreams.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

King Crimson

       The bizarre cover of King Crimson's debut album suggests nightmares, but listening to the music is like experiencing a dream in tonalities and poetry.  That album--In the Court of the Crimson King--and the second album--In the Wake of Poseidon--became listening staples for me when I was in college in the early 1970s.
        These albums were part of the early wave of  Progressive Rock and as years progressed King Crimson became ensconced as purveyors of innovative modern music.  Showing an eclectic range of musical sounds and styles, King Crimson has attained a cult status.
        The strange intricacies of the music of King Crimson would place them in the genre that I would call Dream Music or music that suggests dreaming.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Keith Jarrett

The Köln Concert             Image via Wikipedia


             Jazz is like dreams.  The improvisations may try to be duplicated but never quite stay the same.  Like a recurring jazz song recurring dreams may surprise us with unexpected new elements appearing and familiar sounds bending into something that we vaguely recall from another time, another place, another dream.  A dream comes in themes and variations.  The song may be new or old, but it's a song that we can claim with our own interpretation.

        "J" is for jazz.   "J" is for Jarrett--Keith Jarrett, long one of the kings of jazz.  It's the kind of music that you can listen to and seem to remember even though you've never heard it before.  Listen to Jarrett's "Koln Concert" album late one night when you're alone.  It's like an old friend has dropped in to visit until the wee hours talking about old times and warm feelings.

         Keith Jarrett.  A bit of classical, folk, and pop jazzed up just right to make a dream music experience.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Incredible String Band

             How does one adequately describe this group?  Some may say they sound weird.  That was my initial reaction when I first heard the album The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, but this opinion soon changed as I began to understand the genius of what The Incredible String Band were doing.  I became hooked and began buying every ISB album I could get my hands on.

            That was forty years ago and I still listen them.  They sound as fresh and as magical now as they did when I first began listening to them.   So how would I describe them?  The name of the band says it all.   This is incredible dream music.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

H.P. Lovecraft

          It's the group, not the author.  That's why I'm listing it under "H".  Mystical, magical, and psychedelic-- H.P. Lovecraft  released a couple of very fine albums in the late 60s.  They eventually reformed under various incarnations, but I'm not familiar with that music.   It is the music of those first two albums that puts this group high on my list of dream music.

           This is some fine music to settle back and get lost in.  The first two albums are available as a compilation on a single disc.   Some very cool and spacey music--a real trip into dreamland.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Philip Glass

             Philip Glass is a modern classical composer who has been classified as a minimalist, but who prefers to think of himself as a composer of "music with repetitive structures".   Glass has a large body of work ranging from compositions for solo instruments to full orchestra.  He has composed music for several films.

           The hypnotic nature of his music can place the listener into a trance-like state of mind.   The music lends itself well to inducing dream states as well as possibly influencing dreams of a sleeper.

            The music sample included today is accompanied by a lovely surrealistic video that is much like a dream.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Stephen Foster


The first major American popular songwriter, S...Image via Wikipedia
      Stephen Foster was America's first real star composer of pop songs back in the mid-19th century.  He wrote songs that we've all heard and probably know the words to.   The quaintness of his songs hearken back to a time that often seems idyllic to us--the stuff of dreams if you will.

         My song choice today is a version of Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer" as performed my Roy Orbison, who is known for singing a few fine dream themed songs with his dreamy sounding voice.

          Although immensely popular as a songwriter in his day, Foster died impoverished in a charity ward of a New York hospital.   "Beautiful Dreamer" was published after his death.

          If you're not familiar with Stephen Foster and his story, there are some fine books and documentaries that are worth exploring.   He is a true American pop icon whose star has faded in our time.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Everly Brothers

             I first became aware of the song "All I Have To Do Is Dream" from an album by surf rocker duo Jan and Dean.  Soon after becoming enamored with that song when I was in early adolescence, I learned that it had originally been a hit sung by the Everly Brothers in 1958.

              Now I'm not necessarily going to classify the Everly Brothers as artists who performed "dream music" although some of their songs are certainly dreamy, but "All I Have To Do Is Dream" is about dreaming so there you go.

             And if nothing else, the video that I've picked for this song has a certain dream-like quality to it.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Claude Debussy

           The art form of Impressionism is a hazy, shimmering style that began with the visual expression of painting and eventually found its way into the music scene.  Claude Debussy is the most well-known of the composers of Impressionistic music.

          Debussy's music is perfect as a prelude to that lazy summer afternoon nap or just those quiet times that are meant for daydreaming.  Late at night you might find yourself listening to "Claire de Lune", the piece sampled in this post.

           This song takes me back to my earliest childhood memories when I used to listen to a version that was on a 78 vinyl that my parents owned.   It's a melancholy song of longing, contemplation, and dreams.  It is a thing of sublime beauty and wonderment.

            "Claire de Lune" has been recorded in many styles by many artists.   More recently it was heard in the popular film Twilight.   Debussy's exquisite composition is among the best of dream music one can find.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

David Crosby

          David Crosby's 1971 album If Only I Could Remember My Name is like a dream put to music.  Laid back songs that express the sentiments of those times are mixed with wordless meanderings of haunting beauty.  David Crosby has a sweet voice and he knows how to write a good song.

           Crosby first gained fame as a part of the group The Byrds.   He later went on to the legendary group Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and sometimes Young).  

           The song sample included here, "Song With No Words", would make ideal dream background music.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

The Band

Cover of "The Band"Cover of The Band

           There's something about the ragged, rootsy sound of The Band that takes me back to a place of memories and musings in the same way that dreams often do.  The Band's premiere album amazed me when I discovered it in the record section of the J.C. Penney store in the Midland Shopping Center and their second album was equal to the first.  These still rank as two of my all time favorite albums.

           The song "Whispering Pines" is true dream music--one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded in my opinion.   Listening to this song can put me in a reverie and evoke past moments that are disassociated from any specific time in my memory.   I never tire of hearing this song and it never fails to move me in the deepest part of where my dreams are born.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012


           Strange psychedelic rock music with folky-ethno leanings provides some nice dreamscape listening.  Autosalvage is said to have been "discovered" in 1967 by Frank Zappa, who mentored the band and may have had some influence in the production of the band's only album.

Image from
            I spent many hours in the 1970s listening to this album.  The unique sound transported me to a place that was long ago and in the present and future at the same time.  I don't recall when I purchased it, but it may have been in the cut-out section of some record store.  I had read about the album in Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia and had been anxious to find it.  I was elated when I did and was not disappointed after I got it home to listen to it.

          Most of the cuts from the album can be found on YouTube and are worth exploring if you enjoy psychedelic music.  The album holds up well for me, but it is definitely the sound of a great era in music.

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