Sunday, July 15, 2012

#575: I had a dream....

I went to Virgin Records' Manor Recording Studio in England -- or somewhere like it. I interviewed the Manor's resident recording engineer Tom Newman, the guy who got the sounds & twiddled the knobs on Mike Oldfield's TUBULAR BELLS and Hatfield and the North's 1st album.
Tom was happy to talk about the Olde Days, but after we were done hashing that out, he was much more excited to talk about what he'd been up to LATELY.
From a shelf behind him he pulled out an album. What I saw was a bright-yellow Roger Dean-style album cover with a painting of a gnarled old tree whose branches entwined to spell-out a band name: HYMNIST.
The cover opened up to reveal an inner fold showing a map of a magical fantasy land where the songs on the album supposedly took place. Tucked into the corners of the gatefold were mugshot photos of the 3 band members, all wearing studious musicians' expressions. There was lots of long hair & glasses.
I don't remember actually hearing any of the music. But I must have heard it, because I remember saying to Tom that his band reminded me of '70s British folk-rock/progressive acts like Gryphon & Amazing Blondel ... which Tom claimed (to my disbelief) never to have heard. Odd, because those bands were semi-popular at the same time Newman's career was getting started, & the Blondels were from just down the road in Lincoln.
Not sure who the other members of the band were -- it possibly included Virgin Records staffer Christopher Strangeways (great name, huh?). Pretty sure it was a trio, tho. & between the 3 of them, they played as many instruments as the Moody Blues, according to the album credits.
I assume this album was released by Virgin, tho it could just as easily have been issued by Vertigo or Deram or Island or Transatlantic, or any of the other forward-looking, "progressive" record labels of the time.
Not sure what year this dream was supposed to have taken place, but it couldn't have been much later than 1977 -- because such a folk/prog fantasy-world album would've been laughed out of the record stores by the arrival of Punk Rock.
Doesn't matter really -- the album doesn't exist, never did -- I looked it up thru my favorite sources at home + Wikipedia & the Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock, just 2 make sure it wasn't something I saw once & then promptly forgot about for the next 35 years....
I've heard Xactly 1 song by Tom Newman as a solo artist -- the modest & brief "Sad Sing," which led-off Newman's 1975 album for Virgin, FINE OLD TOM, & was included on the famous late-'70s 99-cent GREATER ANTILLES SAMPLER album from Island Records -- also the 1st place I ever heard Nick Drake (with the gorgeous "Northern Sky"). "Sad Sing" itself is highlighted by Newman's rather weedy but charming singing voice, & by Mike Oldfield playing some nice "twiddly-bits" guitar. Don't know if this 2-minute track is a good Xample of the rest of Newman's work.... Copies of FINE OLD TOM can B found at for $15-$25 if you feel brave.... Newman also apparently released a later album called FAERIE SYMPHONY which maybe I should check out....
Tom Newman is 69 years old, & tho he's done a few albums himself (& was in a pre-Jade Warrior-members' band called July), he's probly a little old to be hitting the stage again.
What I want to know is: Has this ever happened to anybody else? Dreamed about albums that don't exist? And in such detail?
I've read about people who supposedly dreamed about new Stevie Nicks songs before she ever released them ... & many years ago I saw the front cover of my 1st book in a dream -- odd, because I still haven't written my 1st book. (Course it might also have been a copy of Michael Moorcock's CORNELIUS CHRONICLES too, but....)
And these days I hardly ever remember what I dream. It was very unusual that this 1 should be so vivid.
I think this is just my subconscious's way of telling me 2 get some more weird music in2 the house because I'm bored with almost everything. But....
Anybody else ever dreamed about books or music that don't exist but seem so real that they should have...?

COMING SOON: Reviews of Max Barry's SYRUP, the ROCK YEARBOOK series, Wigwam's HIGHLIGHTS best-of, & other off-the-wall music I've been playing at work lately....

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