Year of Release: 1972
Once every so often I stumble across a single by a band I know nothing about - and can find absolutely nothing about online or offline - which is nonetheless a curiosity purely due to its total obscurity. Sometimes this obscurity makes it valuable to label completists (a recent copy of a scarce Fontana single I own went for £160 on ebay purely due to the fact that there are so few copies left "in the wild", and despite the fact that the music in the grooves was at best merely 'above average') but more often than not its just like finding an old till receipt from 1975 down the back of a cupboard; interesting and slightly nostalgia inducing, but not anything to get the Antiques Roadshow crew having panic attacks. The "collectibility" of a thing is determined by many factors besides rarity, and you're more likely to be unlucky than striking it rich.
And here we are. There were two Merlins doing the rounds during the seventies. One were a glam rock outfit with progressive leanings signed to the CBS label. The other were this mysterious lot, about whom all I can glean is that they once toured with Leapy Lee (who also produced this single).
"Sweet Dream Woman" is the kind of easy-going, laid-back, feel good, gum chewing, jew's harp twanging country rock which temporarily had a spurt of popularity in the early seventies, and which I must admit isn't really my bag, even at its absolute best. I wouldn't know a great single of this ilk from a dud. However, this is bound to find appreciation from someone fascinated by curios of that nature, and for that reason it's today's blog entry. Sometimes it's nice to share even if you don't have anything productive to say and the artist in question is operating in an area you don't feel as if you're an authority on.
A slightly grittier version of "Sweet Dream Woman" was a success for Waylon Jennings in the USA during June 1972, and the "Taylor" in the songwriting credits is none other than Chip Taylor, previously responsible for "Wild Thing". He also recorded the track as part of the trio Gorgoni, Martin & Taylor earlier in 1971 but it met with less success in that guise.
Apologies for the crackles near the start, but if you can find a better copy out there, feel free to share it!