Sunday, February 4, 2024

Orleans - Waking And Dreaming (1976 us, pleasant funky soft rock)

As with previous Orleans albums, Let There Be Music, from earlier in 1975, and the self-titled 1973 disc on ABC records, the majority of the music on Waking and Dreaming is from the pens of John Hall and Johanna Hall. "Still the One" was the big hit, its inverted Chuck Berry riff embracing a timeless sentiment every lover wants to hear: "We're still having fun -- and you're still the one." The sounds shift on the album, working best when themes of love come into play, the touching "If I Don't Have You" being a real standout.  

Charles Plotkin's production works, especially on the hit and "Golden State," a laid-back folky/jazzy understated ode, while the title track shows potential but drifts off into a jam. The biggest problem with Waking and Dreaming, outside of the dreadful album cover of the not very photogenic longhairs posing seemingly naked for the camera, is that the band moves away from its area of success, the tight vocal harmonies and the cousin-to-the Eagles soft rock sound that was perfect for Asylum records. 

When the band gets heavy, as on the AOR-styled '70s funk of "What I Need," Orleans loses its identity. "Still the One" is as hard as this band should've rocked with John Hall at the helm, light enough for soft rock, strong enough to dance to. The reggae of "The Path" is a nice diversion, but the folky sounds of "Sails" is the kind of album track the fans expect, and it delivers the goods. It is John Hall at his isolated finest, the keyboards building with the singer, creating a niche for the voices to come in and fill. "Sails" is short, sweet, and magical, the kind of number that Waking and Dreaming should have had more of to surround the rare jewel of a hit song that "Still the One" is. 
by Joe Viglione
1. Reach - 4:20
2. What I Need - 4:42
3. If I Don't Have You - 4:03
4. Waking And Dreaming - 6:20
5. Sails - 2:06
6. Still The One - 3:53
7. The Bum (Wells Kelly) - 2:31
8. Golden State - 3:38
9. The Path - 3:52
10.Spring Fever (Larry Hoppen, Marilyn Mason) - 4:10
All songs by Johanna Hall, John Hal except where indicated

*John Hall - Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Synthesizer 
*Larry Hoppen - Electric Piano, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals, Electric Guitar, Organ, Synthesizer, Clavinet 
*Lance Hoppen - Bass, Backing Vocals, Synthesizer 
*Wells Kelly - Drums (Track5),  Backing Vocals, Piano, Percussion, Lead Vocals, Lead Electric Guitar, Organ, Tambourine 
*Jerry Marotta - Drums, Percussion  , Congas  Backing Vocals 
*Linda Ronstadt - Backing Vocals (Track 3)
*Blue Mitchell - Trumpet (Track 8)
*Michael Brecker - Saxophone (Track 10)

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