Part 3 of “Bud Dashiell’s Solo LPs.” For Part 1, click HERE.
The landscape of popular music changed dramatically during the final two years that Bud & Travis were back together. Even the year they chose to reunite was pivotal. In 1963, folk music went prime time with the launch of ABC-TV’s Hootenanny! show, but it was also the year that the mighty Weavers — one of the most influential of all folk groups — finally called it quits.
Of course, Bud & Travis had never referred to themselves solely as “folk singers.” Travis had even gently protested that classification at their heralded 1960 live concert in Santa Monica:
“One of the things that is frequently said of Bud and myself is that we’re folksingers…I guess if we sing, and we’re folk…it fits. But we like to do anything that we like. We don’t like to…just stay on one kind of material, but anything that pleases us.”
But this was merely a semantic argument, for no matter what they performed from their vast and varied repertoire, they did it acoustically, which became somewhat of a hindrance on the pop scene after The Beatles crossed the pond in 1964 with their Rickenbackers and Hofners, and “plugged-in” was suddenly “in.” So when B&T disbanded for good in 1965 — the year Dylan went electric — the two returned to solo club dates, where an artist with an acoustic guitar and a song could still find an appreciative audience. Edmonson headed back to the Southwest. Dashiell remained in Los Angeles.
Bud Dashiell’s I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today (W/WS-1731)
The times really had changed by 1968, when Dashiell released his final solo album, I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today (W/WS-1731). Instead of the record shipping out alongside LPs by The Kingston Trio (who disbanded in 1967) and The Chad Mitchell Trio (drawing a last breath as Denver, Boise & Johnson), it was marketed alongside Dashiell’s new Warner label mates The Beau Brummels, Harpers Bizarre, The Tokens and — in perhaps the most obvious evidence of a new musical day — The Grateful Dead.
Warner’s top folk franchise Peter, Paul & Mary were still touring, but even they had gone partly electric on 1967′s Album 1700 (on the satirical “I Dig Rock ‘n Roll Music,” among others), and were in the final months of their own Act I.
But Dashiell knew his mind, what he enjoyed and what he wanted to do musically. He’d retained his artistic integrity, and — like Edmonson — was an intelligent man with a good sense of humor and strong opinions. Following popular tastes of the day had never been a big factor for either man, and Dashiell’s liner notes reflected that:
“Who is speaking for the people who don’t get glassy-eyed and snap their fingers and say ‘yeeaahhh, baby’ when one of the paisley crowd drops some obscure verbal hallucination? So many noisemakers have been telling the American people to ‘listen’ that the American people really have started to listen. There are a lot of noncompartmentalized people who like to listen, and I like to talk to them.”
Singers speak through the language of song, and this LP offered up ten tracks for listeners to chew on. The variety is good, with one number from his B&T days, a couple blues chestnuts, three foreign language tunes (two in French from the late, great Gilbert Bécaud) and three songs from younger composers (Randy Newman, Jesse Colin Young and Gordon Lightfoot). Dashiell’s version of “Seasons in the Sun” (with a very tasty guitar intro reminiscent of B&T’s “Raspberries, Strawberries”) predated the schmaltzy Terry Jacks version by six years, but both of them learned it — as Bob Shane used to say in concert — off an old Kingston Trio album (1963′s A Time to Think).
Here’s the songlist as it appeared on the LP:
- I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today (Randy Newman)
- Et Maintenant (What Now My Love) (Sigman-Delanoe-Becaud)
- Black Coffee (Webster-Burke)
- Vereda Tropical (Gonzolo-Curiel)
- Better Than Anything (Wheat-Loughborough)
- Seasons in the Sun (Brel-McKuen)
- Lullaby (Jesse Colin Young)
- Au Revoir (Gilbert-Becaud)
- Early Morning Rain (Gordon Lightfoot)
- Baltimore Oriole (Webster-Carmichael)
As with parts 1 & 2 of this essay, I’d like to offer audio of a few tracks since they are currently unavailable anywhere. Just click on the arrow/triangle in each individual “player” to hear the full-length tune. You won’t even have to leave the page.
First up is the title track, Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today.”
Next is a song that Bud first sang with Travis on ...In Person, a live LP recorded in 1964 at the Cellar Door in Washington D.C. The co-author of the song was with them on stage that night, since David “Buck” Wheat, late of the Kingston Trio and Whiskeyhill Singers, had recently joined the duo as bassist and Arranger Extraordinaire. The song? “Better than Anything.” So here is Bud’s solo version, sans Buck and Travis:
Third, a nylon string tour-de-force by Dashiell on Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain.”
The lovely “Lullaby” is a Jesse Colin Young tune, but Bud makes it own with a gently spoken intro to his own daughters.
Following the release of I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today, Dashiell continued to perform and teach guitar in Westwood through the early 1980s, when he suffered a seizure which severly affected the right side of his body. Less than a month later, Edmonson had a similar stroke, which incapacitated his left side.
Oliver Hassard Dashiell — who was born on September 28, 1929 (amazingly on the very same day as Edmonson) — died on June 2, 1989. Because of his distinguished service as a Battery Commander in the Korean War, he was buried in the Los Angeles National Military Cemetery, which borders the 405 freeway just north of Wilshire Boulevard. He was survived by his wife Mary and his two daughters.
Here’s Bud with a last word, once again from the …Gonna Rain liner notes:
“Right now, I’m an itinerant, a journeyman, a communicator, who wants to do things not because they are in vogue (I’ve been there) but because I am ready to talk of what I think, where I’m at, and how I feel a closeness to ideas like love, children, and my life.”
And with that, I say “Au Revoir” to Bud Dashiell.