In the period between his original success and his reemergence as a country-leaning roots artist, Rick Nelson made a series of thoroughly underrated records that fully deserve reexamination.
After ‘Mean Old World’ grazed the bottom of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965, the sad fact is that the former teen idol was absent from the chart for some four and a half years. As he nobly adjusted his sound to suit more adult tastes, Nelson released no fewer than 11 singles on Decca that missed the US bestsellers. One of them, ‘Dream Weaver,’ was issued on 13 November 1967.
Rick had entered the country world with the 1966 release of his album Bright Lights and Country Music. The same year, he recorded the soundtrack album to the TV production On The Flip Side, which came out that December and featured original music by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
His next country offering, Country Fever, appeared in April 1967, again to considerable acclaim but few sales. As the year came towards its close, the ‘Dream Weaver’ single announced the release of the parent album Another Side Of Rick. The 45 had more of a folk-pop feel, with just a hint of light psychedelia, and previewed an album featuring three Tim Hardin compositions, including ‘Reason To Believe.’
The varied LP also saw Nelson covering the Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian song ‘Daydream,’ Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell’s standard ‘Georgia On My Mind.’ Nelson himself co-wrote ‘Marshmellow Skies’ with his guitarist, and later Elvis Presley band member, James Burton.
For now, Nelson was still weaving dreams that remained unfulfilled, and didn’t get back to the US charts until the In Concert at the Troubadour album appeared in January 1970. Then, the formation of the Stone Canyon Band and the success of a country-rock sound would have him entering the new decade with much more optimism.
‘Dream Weaver’ is on Another Side Of Rick, which can be bought here.
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