Tommy McLain

Sweet Dreams [Ace]

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Tommy McLain is such a phenomenal vocalist it's easy to see how this unknown artist's version of "Sweet Dreams" beat out Don Gibson's and Patsy Cline's renditions in the pop market. Granted, Gibson and Cline were country -- not pop -- stars, but neither one was a stranger to the pop charts. McLain's piano-triplet ballad style has more in common with earlier Louisiana singers like Jimmy Clanton than the prevailing pop sounds of the day, and in fact sounds pretty retro for the late '60s. Sweet Dreams contains McLain's sole hit and 19 other recordings from 1966-1969, encompassing R&B and country covers that include several recordings of songs by fellow Louisiana artists like Jimmy C. Newman and Fats Domino, with a particular emphasis on Domino. McLain dipped into the Don Gibson songbook again for "I'd Be a Legend in My Time," but was unable to recapture the spark of "Sweet Dreams." In fact, McLain never managed to place another single on the national charts despite being a talented vocalist, instrumentalist, and occasional songwriter. Sweet Dreams includes one previously unreleased track, a version of the Everly Brothers' "So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)."

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