Tommy McLain - Sweet Dreams (1965-1969)

Tommy McLain is an American swamp pop singer and musician.

Tommy McLain was born in Jonesville, Louisiana in 1940. During the 50s and into the 60s he played in various country and swamp pop groups, with whom he won local talent shows and performed on local TV. He proved to be both an excellent singer and a talented multi-instrumentalist, playing piano, guitar, bass, drums and fiddle. He worked with Clint West whilst with first The Vel-Tones and then The Boogie Kings, and later in 1965 they recorded an excellent duet together - "Try To Find Another Man". He also worked as a DJ on local Louisiana radio.
In 1966 he recorded a swamp pop cover of Don Gibson's "Sweet Dreams", a song which at the time had already provided country hits for Faron Young, Patsy Cline and Gibson himself. McLain's version charted surprisingly high, getting to #15 on the national pop chart (actually the highest-charting version of the song on the pop chart). It also reached #49 in the UK. It briefly made McLain a star, and he went on to appear on Dick Clark's Where The Action Is. He never had any other hits, and so it is this one song he is best known for. He continues to perform throughout the South today.
This compilation, originally released in 1990 by Ace Records, features twenty recordings from the late 60s, including both "Sweet Dreams" and "Try To Find Another Man". It's a great blend of swamp pop, country and R&B, with stripped-down arrangements and excellent vocals from McLain. It features many interesting covers, among them Bobby Charles' "Before I Grow Too Old" (a song originally recorded by Fats Domino in 1960), Robert Parker's "Barefooting", Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves A Woman", Buck Owens' "Together Again", Ray Charles' "Sticks And Stones", a Fats Domino medley, and another great Don Gibson song, "(I'd Be) A Legend In My Time". 


1 comment:

iggy said...

This is amazing music, completely unknown to me. Thanks so much for the opportunity to appreciate Tommy McLain. Wish there were more.

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