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Heath Common - The Dream of Miss Dee (Hi4Head Records)

Star rating: 
3

With as many references as influences, Heath Common presents a mixed media travelog through the annals and avenues of the Beat Generation and the Counter Culture, retracing the footsteps of Kerouac and Ginsberg, Jagger and Lennon, Michael X and International Times, the Dead and the Plane, not to mention Robert Johnson and Honeyboy Edwards and just about as many counter culture references you wish to re-imagine. Part John Cooper Clarke, part Ian McMillan, part Syd Barrett, the poet/musician finds it difficult to separate the disciplines of poetry and music and they both work alongside each other, intermingling throughout the album, complimenting each other quite generously. Like Ray Davies, Heath Common talks about everyday places but makes them sound so enchanting, albeit with a gritty edge, whether paying homage to the city of Manchester (Manchester Summertime) or the city of New York (Angel of New York), the same even applies to Bradford Park Avenue. Well, you had to be there.

With short interludes between the songs, dream bites if you will, the album comes across all concept-like, further alluded to by songs with whacky titles such as Zorba the Beat, When the Dog Bites the Monkey and Why Truck Drivers Rise Earlier Than Students of Zen, based on beat poet Gary Snider's poem. The Death of Honeyboy Edwards is a wry look at a blues legend's attitude towards blues pretenders in no uncertain terms. 
 
Recorded in both Sheffield and Hull and co-produced by Heath Common and Chris Halliwell, THE DREAM OF MISS DEE is a highly entertaining overview of a period of time recognised by anyone in their mid to late 50s, who remembers the 1960s, whether they were 'there' or not.  
 
Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky