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April 4, 2017

The Dirt Band – An American Dream (1979) – Lp

by Record Facts

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is an American folk-rock band that was formed in 1966 in Long Beach, California. The band has had many personnel changes, including a period from 1976–1981 when it was known as the Dirt Band. Original members include singer and guitarist Jeff Hanna and drummer Jimmie Fadden. Multi-instrumentalist John McEuen was a member from 1966 to 1986 and returned during 2001. Keyboardist Bob Carpenter joined in 1977.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artist:  The Dirt Band
Title:  An American Dream
Year:  1979
Format:  LP
Label:  United Artists Records
Catalog#  1A 062-82747

Any Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fan who thought the smooth soft rock of 1978’s The Dirt Band was a fluke was proven wrong by the following year’s American Dream, which took the template of its predecessor and improved it with a streamlined production and some very strong material. Chief among these, of course, was the title song, a winningly polished take on Rodney Crowell‘s clever “American Dream” that became a hit, climbing all the way to 13 on the pop charts and thereby establishing the band in the public’s eyes as the soft rock act they’d become. It’s a brilliant single, one of the best Californian soft rock songs of its era, and American Dream the album delivers at least on the level of sound — sonically, it’s a sleek and appealing collection of mid-tempo pop songs, ballads, and lazy jams. It’s the latter that hurt the momentum of the album; although the instrumental “Jas’moon” works better than “White Russian” on The Dirt Band, there are some really silly good-time numbers — “New Orleans,” “Happy Feet” — that deflate the mellow vibe of the record (as does the reggae-fied cover of “Wolverton Mountain” that closes the LP on a sour note). Though these are stumbles, they don’t hurt the record, since the rest of American Dream glides by on its smooth surfaces — all electric pianos, slick guitars, saxophones, and glistening polish — and songs as light but appealing as “In Her Eyes,” “Take Me Back,” “Dance the Night Away,” “Do You Feel the Way That I Do,” and “What’s on Your Mind.” This won’t win over the fans lost on The Dirt Band — it would be some time before they returned to the progressive country that made their reputation — but this is another small late-’70s soft rock gem.

 

Side one
1.  An American Dream (Jamaica in the Moonlight)  (3:53)
2.  In Her Eyes  (4:16)
3.  Take Me Back  (3:03)
4.  Jas’moon  (3:27)
5.  Dance the Night Away  (4:21)

Side two
1.  New Orleans  (3:59)
2.  Happy Feet  (3:59)
3.  Do You Feel the Way I Do  (3:58)
4.  What’s On Your Mind  (3:44)
5.  Wolverton Mountain’  (3:16)

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