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The Dirt Band - An American Dream (1979)

Artist:  The Dirt Band
Title:  An American Dream
Release:  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 Orléans  (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)

available at: http://www.ad-vinylrecords.com

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