DONNIE AND JOE EMERSON: (STILL) LIVIN’ THE DREAM

(originally posted 1/21/10)

Donnie and Joe Emerson
Give Me the Chance
Baby
From Dreamin’ Wild (Enterprise and Co, 1979)

This is one of those LPs that helps one understand why people bother to even look for records to begin with.

The cover screams bargain bin. Actually, it screams “so bad it’s good” that even bloggers show it love for being so bad.

But here’s the crazy thing…the actual album sounds nothing like you’d expect it to. Had the album had two loner, folk rock types, you could better understand how the Emerson brothers put together such a heady mix of psych and soul on here but you’d be forgiven if you assumed it was some schlocky power pop instead.
I don’t mean to overstate it; his is not an amazing voice. Donnie (I think it’s Donnie?) has a tendency to swallow his lines rather than pushing them out but still, there’s something simple and innocent about the performance and you can imagine the young Emersons, with their big hair, jamming this one out in the basement, visions of arena tours dancing in their heads.

Those into funky psych will no doubt gravitate to the dark, smoky “Give Me the Chance.” In listening to this, I’m reminded of any number of ’70s rock bands who had a similar vocal style but a little before the 1:30 mark, the song falls deep off into a crevice of crazy synthesizer effects (I imagine Edan going nuts over this kind of stuff).

But seriously: it is all about “Baby.” This is easily one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time (I’d easily put it ahead of anything on that Sly, Slick and Wicked LP and that’s a great album). I’m not even entirely sure what he’s singing besides “Baby” but it doesn’t matter; just the way he croons, “oooh ooooh baby/yes, oh, baby” melts me like hot butter on (what?) the popcorn. Someone on Soulstrut described this song, “as if Shuggie Otis and Roy Orbison had a baby together” and that exactly nails it. I want to get lost inside this shaggy beanbag of a song, slipping into its cushy folds and dream wild like Donnie and Joe.

*The song’s even been covered by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Grafffiti. Peep:

June 20, 2012 update: Looks like I was hardly the only fan. Dreamin’ Wild is now freshly reissued on Light in the Attic! They also produced this video interview of the Emerson brothers:

The Rock-n-Roll Farmers: Donnie & Joe Emerson from Light In The Attic Records on Vimeo.

Such a great backstory, such a great album.

Treat yourself and cop the reissue when it drops.

Comments

comment(s)

3 comments to DONNIE AND JOE EMERSON: (STILL) LIVIN’ THE DREAM

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>