Bill DeMain Writes: Is Terry Dolan’s star-studded debut the greatest rediscovery of 2016?

Terry Dolan

Bill DeMain on TeamRock.com writes…

In 1972, Terry Dolan made an album with members of the Stones, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Steve Miller Band and Santana. For some reason, it’s remained unreleased until now…

On April 24, 1971, the San Francisco Examiner ran a piece titled “The Hit That Isn’t a Record.” It was about an unsigned local musician named Terry Dolan who was “doing the impossible – having a hit without making a record.” A demo tape Dolan had cut with Rolling Stones’ piano man Nicky Hopkins had found its way into heavy rotation on two FM underground stations, and one of the songs, Inlaws and Outlaws, was lighting up the phones. The article would prove strangely prescient, because after the demo helped land him a deal with Warner Brothers, Dolan made a record that never became a record. At least not until forty-four years later.

Music history is peppered with lost albums, those vinyl equivalents of Atlantis – from The Beach Boys’ Smile to Prince’s Black Album. But what if not only a landmark album went missing in time, but along with it an artist and the potential of an entire career?

“Who knows what would’ve happened with Terry’s career had it come out in 1972?” says Mike Somavilla. “Who knows what his next album for Warner Brothers would’ve sounded like?”

Somavilla, a resident San Francisco music expert and fan, spent twenty-seven years, on and off, considering these questions as he worked to get Dolan’s lost album released. “I made it my life’s ambition,” he says. “A long time ago, Terry gave me a cassette of it, then when I moved out to the Bay Area in 1987, he gave me one of the original test pressings. It was like getting one of the lost pieces of San Francisco’s music scene, the holy grail.”

That holy grail, co-produced by Nicky Hopkins and Pete Sears (a multi-instrumentalist featured on Rod Stewart’s early work), included a stellar cast of 70s-era west coast musicians including Greg Douglass, Prairie Prince, John Cipollina and Neal Schon. Heard today, the album brings to mind classics from that year like Leon Russell’s Carney and Elton John’s Honky Chateau – a soulful singer-songwriter collection given rock and gospel muscle through energetic arrangements and Dolan’s powerful tenor voice.

Read the full article now at TeamRock.com.

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