Thunderclap Newman - Hollywood Dream 1969
All these years, and all these accolades later, it still seems incredible that Hollywood Dream meant nothing at the time of its release; that America let it drift no higher than Number 161; that the U.K. did not even give it a hearing. Less than a year before, after all, "Something in the Air" was topping charts and readers' polls alike, and Thunderclap Newman were as close as Christmas to becoming the new Beatles. Instead, they weren't even the new Badfinger, and this exquisite LP withered on the vine. Reissued in 1991, Hollywood Dream had been utterly transformed by the admiration of so many subsequent listeners, to stand alongside any lost classic you could mention, among the finest albums of its psychedelic generation. "Something in the Air," of course, has never lost its hold on our hearts, but there was so much more to Thunderclap Newman and, across the 12-track original album, and half-a-dozen bonus tracks, the trio's genius is inescapable. For those "in the know," who had treasured their scratchy old Atlantic label vinyl, the real meat lay in the latter, as all three of Thunderclap Newman's original 45's joined their album brethren, together with their non-LP B-sides. "Something in the Air," fussed up for the LP, reverts to its original emphatic punch; "Accidents" is pruned from a shade under ten minutes to a little over three; and the piping "The Reason" (an odd choice for a single in the first place) sounds like a role model for every record Supertramp ever made. The real gem, however, is "Wilhemina," which sounds like a daft piece of rhyming doggerel set to a nursery tune, but also packs one of the most dramatic psych guitar solos this side of your favorite Who record. Producer Pete Townshend must have been astonished. As will you be, too, if all you've ever heard is the hit. So many bands have been hauled out of obscurity to be tagged the greatest secret you've never been told. Thunderclap Newman are one of the few who actually deserve that epithet. AMG.
FR / USA / UK