Grace Slick’s “Dreams” was originally released on the RCA label in 1980 and here it rears its head again on Morello Records. Now, cards laid on the table I like Grace Slick a lot – who couldn’t fail to love someone who when invited, mistakenly, to the Whitehouse planned to spike then President Nixon with acid, or who when asked in more recently what her regrets were responded “Never having sex with Jimi Hendrix”.
To those of you who only know Slick from her Jefferson Airplane days you may well be a tad disappointed with Dream’s offerings, but if you enjoyed any of the Starship output then you’ll really enjoy this record I think. Yes it’s a tad pompous, overblown and it doesn’t have any members of Starship on there – it’s very much of its time in some ways but give it a chance I say – Slick rates Dreams as her most favoured of her four solo albums. I had a look at Wiki and it described this album as “psychedelic rock” but this is about as far away from the mark as I think you could get – ok, it’s got guitars, drums, bass and Grace Slick, but there the psychedelic comparison ends!
“Dreams” opens with the title track, which was a single here in the UK, is a glorious and uplifting tune which is a massively overproduced and extravagant affair, but hey, Slick was one of the biggest female stars of her time so who can blame her for the odd indulgence. It’s powerful, and slicks voice is an utterly perfect foil for the musical excesses.
“El Diablo” takes us away with a Flamenco feel full of brilliantly played guitar (Scott Zito), castanets and staccato vocal delivery which gives way to Slick’s trademark soaring vocal style. It’s a great tune!
“Seasons” is the track you will know from the album I’m sure (it was a single), but to me it’s the weakest of the ten songs (here you get a bonus track in the form of the radio edit of “Dreams”) on this record and really doesn’t seem to sit well with the other tunes such as the epic “Face to the Wind” . Dreams reminds me a little of Agents of Fortune by Blue Oyster Cult, from four years earlier, at times particularly on “Angels of Night” – it’s radio friendly rock music with a broad appeal.
Slick said that making solo albums “Scared the shit out of her” but Dreams belies this comment and comes across as self-assured and confident. Her voice is wonderful, the musicianship is first rate, the production is splendidly over the top and apart from the aforementioned “Seasons” it’s packed with great tunes, such as the slowly building “Full Moon Man” which is my personal favourite…or is it “Let it Go”? Come to think of it, even “Seasons” has its merits after a few listens!