Dawe, Tim (aka Penrod)
Band members Related acts
- Tim Dawe (aka Jerry Penrod) -- vocals, guitar
- Arnie Goodman --
- none known
Rating: 3 stars ***
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve
Catalog ID: 6312
Here's an obscurity that didn't do a great deal for me the first time I heard it, but it has grown on me each time I play it.
Looking for talent to sign to Frank Zappa's newly formed Straight Records, Zappa manager Herb Cohen apparently spotted Tim Dawe and his band Penrod (keyboardist Arnie Goodman, guitarist Chris Kebeck, drummer Claude Mathis, and bassist Don Parrish) playing at a Los Angeles club. Before signing him, Cohen asked former Lovin' Spoonful guitarist Jerry Yester to check Dawe out. Yester saw some potential and Dawe and company were subsequently signed to a recording contract.
Produced by Yester, 1969's "Penrod" found Dawd and company trying on a broad array of musical genres with surprisingly impressive results. Dawe himself couldn't seem to decide whether he wanted to be a sensitive singer/songwriter (think Tim Buckley, or Phil Ochs), or a conventional rocker and it occasionally led to some disconcerting changes in tempo and direction. Dawe's voice was best described as an acquired taste, falling somewhere between Tim Buckley, Bob Dylan, and Kermit the Frog. The funny thing is that like the album itself, Dawe's voice quickly started to grow on you - especially on more rock oriented numbers like 'Scarlet Women', 'Nite Train Home' and 'Sometimes Alone'. Dawe was clearly a talented writer with an ear for a catchy hook (check out he bouncy 'Little Boy Blues'), but those efforts were ably supported by a top notch band with keyboardist Goodman and lead guitarist Kebeck deserving special notice. The album also benefited from Yester's understated support - notably some shimmering arrangements he provided on the likes of 'Nothing At All' and 'No Exit (Cafe and Gallery)''.
LP inner sleeve
- 'Scarlet Women' started out sounding like a classic slice of Byrds folk-rock being sung by Dylan with a head cold. That may have sounded kind of snarky, but wasn't meant as an insult since the track was quite good with a surprisingly commercial orientation. Dawd's voice certainly wasn't the most conventional instrument, but he knew how to use it to good effect on the harder rocking tunes like this one. Great way to start the album !!! rating: **** stars
- Ever wondered what Arlo Guthrie might have sounded like if he'd decided to record a real rock song ? Well, the blazing 'Nite Train Home' might give you an idea ... Kicked along by Goodman's stabbing Farfisa and Kebeck lead guitar, this slightly acid-tinged rocker was one of the album's standout performances. rating: **** stars
- Built on Arnie Goodman's keyboards, 'Nothing At All' was a ramshackled ballad that underscored some of Dawe's less likeable vocal traits ... notably a tendency to warble. He actually did it quite a bit, but on the faster numbers it wasn't nearly as apparent. For what it was worth, Yester's orchestration was simply gorgeous. rating: ** stars
- Opening up with some of the funniest synthesizer you've ever heard 'Little Boy Blue' was a hysterical mash-up of country-rock and polka. That may have seemed like a horrible combination, but it made for the album's sunniest and most enjoyable track. rating: **** stars
- Dawe's best known composition, 'Junkie John' was a stark, dark, and harrowing tale of one of life's losers. Opening up with a bluesy bass line and an extended spoken work intro, the seven and a half minute song opened with some nifty jazz moves, before building speed with an able assist from Arnie Goodman keyboards. It was the kind of song you could easily picture Lou Reed or Tom Waite covering. This may be nothing more than urban legend, but the track supposedly got some airplay, before the Federal Communications Commission began cracking down on songs with drug oriented themes. rating: **** stars
- Showcasing some meltdown fret work from Kebeck and a first rate performance from drummer Claude Mathis, 'Sometimes Alone' was the album's hardest rocking effort. If you liked Dawe's more sensitive singer/songwriter numbers, this excursion, complete with an acid-tinged faded out, probably saw you lifting the needle for the next track. rating: **** stars
- 'No Exit (Cafe and Gallery)' found Dawe and company dabbling in country-rock. The song was okay, but Dawe's voice really wasn't cut out for the genre. On the other hand, the song showcased some lovely group harmonies (shame the band didn't incorporate that capability into more numbers) and some fantastic Kebeck guitar. rating: ** stars
- 'I'm Comin'' was a weird performance melding a pseudo-funky ! melody (including some tasty Kebeck wah wah guitar) with Goodman tasty keyboards, and one of Dawe's most measured vocals. Shame he didn't really cut loose on this one. rating: *** stars
- I'm a big harpsichord fan so this pretty ballad had me from the opening chords. 'Some Other Time' was easily the album's prettiest performance. rating: **** stars
I'm hesitant to label it a lost classic, but song-for-song it sure comes close ! Makes you wonder how FM radio managed to miss this one ...
"Perod" track listing:
Women (Tim Dawe) - 2:25
Straight did little to promote the album and Dawe apparently didn't do all that much himself.
Dawe's musical career was rounded out by two equally obscure mid-1970s albums. 1976 saw him release "Timothy and Ms. Pickens with Natural Act" (Half Moon Bay catalog number HB 001) which assistance from It's a Beautiful Day alumnis Mitchel Holman and Hal Wagenet. 1978 saw him produce and contribute three tracks to the live album "A Night On the Wine Cellar" (Cabernet catalog GWC 101). Dawe subsequently turned his attention to academics becoming a physics instructor at San Francisco State University and San Francisco's City College.
For anyone interested, YouTube has a couple of Dawe television performances:
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