La Musica: Dreams

I used to think dreams were magic. A portal into someplace special. I read all the Jung, all the dream books. I kept journals. Traced the trails of my unconscious, looking for Meanings and Grails.midnight_dreams

I now think that’s all a load of bollocks, to be frank. Dreams are but a nocturnal processing system, of information received while the corporeal container is up and about. In any remembered dream I can easily find analogues to events or emotions experienced in an earlier waking state. Or nudges towards things I should, as KGO’s Ray Taliaferro puts it, “be thinking about, talking about, or doing something about.”

Maybe I’ve just soured on dreams because they don’t give me anything anymore. Maybe the problem is, as Joseph Kern says in Red, “it’s been years since I dreamt something nice.” Well, not quite that bad. But close.  

Some guy on the radio said Vitamin B6 stimulates vivid dreaming. I’m trying that. Nothing to report.

Waking dreams, on the other hand, they’ve never left me. In truth I find they more consume me, the longer I live. Dreams like the dreams in the Allman Brothers’ “Dreams”:

just one more mornin’
i had to wake up with the blues
pulled myself outta bed
put on my walkin’ shoes

went up on the mountain
to see what i could see
the whole world was fallin’
right down in front of me

’cause i’m hung up
on dreams i’ll never see

Maybe not so remarkable that somebody 22 years old wrote that. Definitely remarkable that, when still but 22, he sang it with the experience and conviction of somebody pushing 62. Which, forty years later, he is today.

In a piece on that song’s writer and vocalist, Gregg Allman, in the July 9 Rolling Stone, Allman shrugs off the common notion that one must live the blues to really sing them. “The blues,” he says, “ain’t nothing but a good man feeling bad.”

Allman’s son, Devon, sees something different: 

“Before he started living this crazy life, he sang like a motherfucker. Even when he was twenty, that voice sounds like it’s been through a million heartaches. So if you’re going to be blessed with that voice at such a young age, I don’t know. Maybe, eventually, you’re going to go through this shit to earn it.”

Gregg Allman today plays in a band with a young buck, like his son—Derek Trucks, a guitar-playing prodigy, and the nephew of bandmate Butch Trucks. Trucks’ approach to “Dreams” is to fairly scrupulously mimic the notes of Duane Allman, who played on the original track, before dying in a motorcycle accident a year later, at 24. Trucks’ playing is, for the most part, stately, dreamy, ruminative. As in this show, from 2003.

New to the tubes is a spooky snippet from the Allman Brothers 40-year anniversary shows in NYC this March. It offers a “Dreams” guitar solo rendered with the band by Eric Clapton. Clapton, years ago, played with Duane Allman in the Layla sessions, subsumed in heroin and consumed by a woman he could not have.

Is Clapton’s solo “better”? It’s from another world. Because Clapton approaches the song from places, from dreams, Derek Trucks has never seen. And, as one human being to another, I hope he never does. As a human being, if not as an artist, he should hope so, too.

pull myself together
put on a new face
climb down off the hilltop
get back in the race

Yep. That’s what you do.

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2 Responses to “La Musica: Dreams”


  1. 1 Sam February 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Thank you for Allman Brothers’ “Dreams”.
    Really makes me strangely sad to hear words like that.


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