Music From The Land Of Dreams (12-inch LP recorded in 1985).
These notes are being written towards the end of October, 2011, partly in response to a discussion which has taken place on the Chris Barber website message board about the availability and track list of Music From The Land Of Dreams. The short answers to the queries raised are that, (1) yes, in addition to the 12-inch LP recorded in 1985 and released shortly thereafter, there was also a subsequent CD issue; (2) this CD was on the market for a relatively short time, although I don’t know for exactly how long; (3) it is extremely rare: for instance, I have never once seen it for sale on eBay in the seven or eight years that I have been buying online; and (4) the absence of the CD is partly compensated for by several of its tracks appearing on a currently available Timeless Records CD, Down On The Bayou.
To be accurate, seven of the nine tracks originally appearing on Music From The Land Of Dreams can be found on Down On The Bayou. New Orleans Louisiana and Second Line Saints are the two exceptions. Unfortunately, neither has ever been issued on a CD. There was a version of the former on the Take Me Back To New Orleans LP and CD but it is not the same recording, while Second Line Saints has drifted into oblivion, apart from among those lucky few who own the LP or CD. This is a great pity, as Second Line Saints is a beautifully played and quite novel version of When The Saints Go Marching In, prefaced by Chris’s introduction of each member of the band together with four bars featuring that instrumentalist before the ensemble begins to play.
All this is to say that it is high time that one of the record companies should make an effort to re-issue a compact disc version of the complete Music From The Land Of Dreams. This is doubly supported not only by the rarity of the tracks and the obvious demand that exists among Chris Barber fans, but also by the fact that this is, in many ways, a quite masterful record which should be part of every Barber fan’s collection. The album must surely be one of the most relaxed recordings the band ever made, yet the playing is more cohesive, integrated and inventive than on many studio recordings. This may be due to the fact that, by the time the LP was recorded, the current personnel had been together for six years (the longest stretch without any personnel change whatsoever in the band’s nearly sixty-year history). It’s also due to the inventive and relaxed playing of Roger Hill on electric guitar, in particular the two blues features, Goin’ Up The River and Whose Blues. In fact this was Roger’s last LP recording with the band before health issues forced him to retire from the road, opening up space for John Slaughter to return to the band after a seven-year absence.
I’d like to end with the comment that, in addition to the quality of the music, both the recording and pressing of this LP were outstanding. The band is perfectly balanced and separated, and even after all these years my copy is in near mint condition with virtually no surface noise, indicating that it was pressed to the highest European vinyl standards.
Ed Jackson, October 26 2011.
Click here to view the LP in the Chris Barber LP Collection section of the website.