The Upshot: Raise your hand if you remember Terry & the Pirates, punters! East Coast folkie summits with West Coast luminaries for a shelved-until-now solo collection of folk, country, rock and psych.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
The problem with a lot of ‘70s-era singer/songwriters is that, frankly, they’re boring. Relying too much on folk elements that drain melodic and textural interest in favor of someone’s idea of “authenticity,” a lot of those records are as dry as grain left out in the sun too long. Not so Terry Dolan – this is one singer/songwriter who liked his music colorful. While having the same folkie roots as many of his peers, the East Coaster recorded his self-titled solo LP with San Francisco luminaries like Neal Schon (Santana, Journey), John Cipollina (Quicksilver Messenger Service) and Lonnie Turner (Steve Miller Band), not to mention the great British session keyboardist Nicky Hopkins. Joined also by the Pointer Sisters on vocals, Dolan doesn’t bother with quiet introspection here – most of these songs are revels, as if their author couldn’t wait to let his ideas out into the world.
“Burgundy Blues” simmers for its first three-quarters, fairly vibrating with anticipation, before exploding in a frenzy of dance rhythms, fuzz guitar and burbling organ. “Purple and Blond” and “Rainbows” also reach an almost gospel fervor, while “Inlaws and Outlaws” boasts a rock anthem vibe. “Magnolia” slows down to a relaxed country rock tempo, but loads in enough instrumentation and energy to sustain its seven-and-a-half minute runtime. All this would just production trickery were it not for the songs, but Dolan’s melodies sound designed for full-bodied treatment, and his impassioned singing cuts through the density with precision. Recorded in 1972, slated for release on Warner Bros. in 1973, but inexplicably shelved, Terry Dolan is a strong record, which makes it mysterious as to why the label would cancel its release.
Following the abandonment of his major label debut, Dolan formed Terry & the Pirates, a jamming Bay Area rock band that often included the same players with whom he worked on Terry Dolan. The group released several albums on various independent labels before Dolan died in 2012.
DOWNLOAD: “Magnolia,” “Inlaws and Outlaws,” “Burgundy Blues”