The American Dream

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1: (1969) as The Great American Dream

- Mickey Brook (RIP) -- drums, percussion

- Pat Cush -- vocals

- Don Ferris (RIP 2010) -- bass, backing vocals

- Don Lee Van Winkle -- guitar


  line up 2: (1969) 

- Mickey Brook (RIP)  -- drums, percussion

- Don Ferris (RIP 2010) -- bass, backing vocals

NEW - Nick Jameson - guitar, keyboards, vocals

NEW - RIchard Johnson -- vocals (replaced Pat Cush) 

- Don Lee Van Winkle -- guitar


  line up 3: (1969-70) as The American Dream

- Mickey Brook (RIP)  -- drums, percussion

- Don Ferris (RIP 2010)  -- bass, backing vocals

NEW - Nicky Indelicato (RIP 2019) -- lead vocals, rhythm guitarist

  (replaced Richard Johnson

- Don Lee Van Winkle -- guitar






- Foghat (Nick Jameson)

- Nick Jameson (solo efforts)

- Don Lee Van Winkle (solo efforts)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The American Dream

Company: Ampex/Bearsville

Catalog: A-10101

Year: 1970

Country/State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $30.00



Looking for an overlooked release that's still affordable, yet recalls the best aspects very commercial popsike aura?  Welcome to the world of The American Dream ... 


Mickey Brook, Don Ferris and Don Lee Van Winkle were high school buddies sharing an interest in rock and roll.  They started rehearsing, quickly getting serious and deciding they needed a lead singer.  They latched on to Pat Cush, who came up with the band name - The Great American Dream.  Cush quickly left and band manager Paul FIshkin brought in guitarist Nick Jameson and singer Richard Johnson.


Johnson was next to leave; replaced by singer/rhythm guitarist Nicky Indelicato.  And with that move the line-up was set.  The group eventually reached a level of professionalism that saw them start to appear on the Philadelphia club scene.  One of the first acts signed Albert Grossman and Todd Rundgren's newly formed Bearsville label (which was distributed by Ampex), their self-titled 1969 debut was also notable as one of Rundgren's first outside production jobs.  By no means the most original album you'll ever hear, "The American Dream" still had lots going for it.  With four of the five members contributing material, the album was quite varied, but thoroughly commercial.  Comparisons to Badfinger, The Beatles and Rundgren's Nazz (which showcased it's own Beatles fixation) were all on target.  Elsewhere 'Cadlillac', 'My Babe' and the fuzz guitar propelled 'Rapsberries' displayed an ability to kick the rock quotient up a notch.  These guys were also loose enough to show they had a sense of humor.  While it won't be everyone's cup of tea, the album started with a goofy phone call between one of the band member's and their cantankerous grandmother, while 'Frankford El' found the band launching into something that sounded like a Dr. Hook outtake and 'Credempheis' degenerated into what sounded like a band of rock and roll Nazis (yeah you'll have to check it out).   Personal favorites include the pretty ballad 'Storm', the should've been a hit slice of jangle-rock 'I Ain't Searchin'' and Jameson's phasing heavy 'Big Brother.'  The latter had it all going and would have sounded good on The Beatles "Revolver".   


The single 'I Ain't Searchin'' attracted some regional airplay which helped the parent LP briefly crack into the Billboard top 200.  Unfortunately Ampex lacked the resources to push the band.  They toured New Jersey, New York and the mid-Atlanic in support of the album, but grew frustrated and called it quits.


"The American Dream" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Good News   (Don Lee Van Wink - Bowers) - 3:57   rating: *** stars

Opening up with a phone call snippet between one of the band members and his cantankerous grandmother (she wasn't happy with him wasting the money on a long distance call), 'Good News' reflected a commercial pop-rocker with some tasty Jameson and Van Winkle dual lead guitar moves.  The harmonies were a touch rough, but that actually strengthened the track.

2.) Big Brother   (Nick Jameson) - 3:55   rating: **** stars

Propelled by some nice jangle guitar, a mesmerizing melody, and a great pair of fuzz guitar solos, 'Big Brother' was the type of pop-rock that drove bands like Badfinger and the Nazz onto the top-40 charts.  Hard to understand why Ampex didn't tap this one as a single.

3.) The Other Side   (Don Lee Van Wink) - 5:08   rating: **** stars

Opening up with some pretty acoustic guitar, 'The Other Side' quickly unveiled a conventional electric sound, but still managed to display the band's softer, commercial side.  One of their prettiestmelodies and another track that had plenty of commercial potential.

4.) Credempheis     (Don Lee Van Wink - Nickey Indelicato - Nick Jameson - Don Ferris - Mickey Brook) - 2:33   rating: *** stars

A slashing rocker, the guitar riff has driven me crazy for years.  It reminds me of another tune, but I've never been able to put my fingers on it.  Unfortunately halfway through the song went totally off the rails, before closing out with a return to the main memory.  No idea what its about since the title doesn't seem to be a real word.

5.) Storm   (Nick Jameson) - 3:35   rating: **** stars

'Storm' found the band returning to a jangle rocker with a strong melody. Very Todd Rundgren/Nazz sounding.  That's a good thing in my book.  Shame the track wasn't longer.

6.) Cadlillac  (Nick Jameson) - 4:10   rating: ** stars

'Cadlillac' was a return to bar boogie rock.  Nothing wrong with the performance, but to my ears it came off as somewhat anonymous.  

(side 2)
1.) My Babe   (Bobby Hatfield - Bill Medley) -2:57
  rating: *** stars

Energetic, but predictible cover of the Righteous Brothers hit.  It's actually one of those tracks that sounds much better after a couple of beers.

2.) I Ain't Searchin'   (Nick Jameson) - 4:39  rating: **** stars

'I Ain't Searchin'' was a catchy country-rock tune.  Strong, pretty melody and nice group harmonies; not exactly what you'd expect from a Philadelphia based band, but this one had everything needed for top-40 airplay.  That may explain why Ampex released an edited, slight different version as a single:  





- 1970's  'I Ain't Searchin'' b/ w 'Good Times as a single (Ampex catalog number X-11011).  






3.) Future's Folly    (Don Lee Van Wink - Nickey Indelicato - Nick Jameson) - 1:52  rating: *** stars

Nice bar band tune with some capable CSN&Y harmonies to propel it along.

4.) I Am You   (Nick Jameson) - 3:45   rating: *** stars

Pretty, slightly lysergic acoustic ballad.

5.) Frankford El     (Don Lee Van Wink - Nickey Indelicato - Nick Jameson) - 1:52   rating: ** stars

The public transportation references make more sense to someone from the Philadelphia afreas.  Accordingly 'Frankford El' seems to be a fan favorite, but I've always found it to be an irritating, jokey faux-hillbilly effort.  Not sure that a couple of beers would even help with this one.

6.) Raspberries    (Don Lee Van Wink - Nick Jameson) - 6:52 rating: **** stars

Opening up with some phased Mickey Brook's drums, 'Raspberries' started out as the album's best rocker.  About halfway through the song took an abrupt change in direction, opening up with an acid-tinged vocal mid-section.  And then back to the rock baseline.  .LOL - for years I thought they were singing 'west boundary.'



I've never heard the CD reissue on the Pony Canyon label (catalog number PCCY-00843), but have read that it's a mess.


Various band members have reunited over the years, including a 1998 performance in honor of the Electric Factory's 28th anniversary and a 2000 performance honoring the 30th anniversary of Earth Day (the band opened for Redbone at the first 1970 Earth Day benefit concert).


Jameson went on to join Foghat, as well as recording a couple of solo efforts, and handling lots of voice over work for animated features and video games.  He also enjoyed success as a producer and as an actor and film producer.


Indelicato and Van Wink both recorded as solo acts and remained active on the Philly music scene.


Brook, Ferris and Idelicato have all passed on.