14 May 2012

Dream Police - I'll Be Home (In A Day Or So)/ Living Is Easy/ Our Song

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1970

Someone far wiser than me and certainly far wiser than most musicians once came out with the valid observation: "The music industry sees a band they like, signs them on the basis of their greatness, then - often for no good reason at all - sets about trying to change them into something utterly different".  This is as true today as it was in the sixties, with a colleague of mine complaining only a year ago that a relative of his had been signed and changed from a mandolin playing singer-songwriter into an electro-pop artist. 

Dream Police probably also know exactly what I'm talking about here. The Glasgow-based act were known for blistering, rocking live shows in their home city, to the extent that Scottish pop historians have a tendency to wax lyrical about them to this day.  By the time they caught the overnight sleeper train down to London (or perhaps took the long drive down - I'm possibly painting false and rather cliched pictures here) and were signed, songwriter and producer Junior Campbell ignored their hard edged sound and gave them the gentle track "I'll Be Home (In A Day Or So)".  For reasons which aren't altogether clear this A-side has found itself on psychedelic compilations since, despite being about as psychedelic as Edison Lighthouse.  It's a nice enough song and possibly could have become a hit, but it truly is production line pop - the big orchestrally backed chorus is very much of its time and so hooky you'll struggle to shift it from your brain after only the first listen.

The B-side "Living Is Easy", however, is widely regarded to be as close to the Dream Police live experience as vinyl buyers ever got, all hard rock riffs and screeching vocals.  So different are the two sides that they could easily have been recorded by two entirely different acts.

(Scroll down for another Dream Police single after the mp3s)

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1970

Dream Police's follow-up single "Our Song" was, at the very least, a self-penned effort on this occasion.  Less of a sledgehammer piece of pop, it's actually typical of the kind of catchy, gentle, closely produced, American influenced FM rock which littered the British charts during 1970-1972 - careful, adult yet also radio-friendly.  It failed to pay off, however, and nor did the band's country-styled follow-up "I've Got No Choice".

It wasn't all bad news for the band, as after their split two of the members went on to earn a crust in other more successful groups.  Keyboard player Ted McKenna went on to join the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, and vocalist Hamish Stuart joined the Average White Band.  Perhaps this is proof that just sometimes, it's worth going along with the industry's insane demands purely to gain important contacts and get a foothold in their world.  


Felonious Munk said...

Cover of a Marmalade song from their 1970 album. More on Dream Police here


billy said...

yes to a certain extent i guess junior campbell was doing to dream police what had happened to his own scottish band and i'm sure with the best of intentions ie giving them a leg up,and you're spot on wi th e premise of course

John Medd said...

Hallelujah Freedom by Junior Campbell is still one of my desert island discs some 40 years later.

Kool Kat said...

Would love fior you to post mp3's of the A + B side of the last (third) Dream Police single - have you got it?

23 Daves said...

Sadly not.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what happened to rest of band Charlie Smith etc.