Mellow reggae take on the Hendrix/ Leaves classic
Year of Release: 1980
The enigmatic Dolphin - essentially a solo project by songwriter Paul Carman given a group name - are one of those obscure seventies groups whose work hasn't yet excited the average record collector. Releasing smooth, FM radio takes on Byrds and Spector classics such as "Goin Back" and "And Then I Kissed Her", their earliest 1976 releases on Private Stock landed at a time when increasingly few people gave a damn for such sophisticated fare.
A shame, as those singles would have been pretty enough to have reached a larger section of the public a few years previously. Despite their no-show on the charts, the project continued with gusto with a total of six singles on Private Stock, one LP ("Goodbye") and then finally this 45 and another LP on the small Gale label.
"Hey Joe" is the one that seems to be picking up a little bit more attention now. While it's a reggae take on the Hendrix classic, inevitably it is somewhat inauthentic - try to push it on the nearest skinhead or dancehall DJ and you're likely to be publicly mocked. It is a smooth and lilting attempt, though, taking The Leaves and Hendrix's wrath and angst and turning it into a despondent, low skank (can you actually skank despondently?) The passing of time has allowed the origins of this one to be forgotten and a few listeners to prick up their ears.
The flip "Dubby Dubby" is a little bit of a daft pean to the joys of marijuana smoking around the world, and while I thought it was puerile on the first listen it's actually really grown on me. "You've got to smoke it til you choke it/ makes sense if the price is cool", Carman informs us as a subtle, spacey, unfussy arrangement wafts around him.
Paul Carman continued as a songwriter for awhile after this, and went on to write for Bee Gees proteges No Hat Moon in the nineties. I'm not sure of his current whereabouts, but if anyone knows, drop a note in the comment box, why don't you.