Dawson


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1975-77)

- Jerry Chasteen -- vocals, lead guitar

- Don Crum -- vocals, bass

- Dave Kluesner -- drums, percussion

- Terry Kluesner -- vocals, keyboards

 

 

 

- Pure Ounce ( Jerry Chasteen and Terry Kluesner)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Can You Feel It

Company: Bridges

Catalog: BG 2709

Year: 1975

Country/State: Bloomington, Indiana

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: small amount of water damage lower left corner (see photo); all seams intact

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5393

Price: $220.00

 

Here's another one where there doesn't seem to be a great deal of biographical information available on the band.  Apparently a Kentucky-based quartet (the album was recorded in Louisville), the line up featured lead guitarist Jerry Chasteen, bassist Don Crum, and brothers Dave (drums) and Terry (keyboards) Kluesner.

 

As far as I can tell, this 1975 album was their sole release, but it was a dandy.  Curiously, "Can You Feel It" was far more commercial and mainstream than most small label releases.  The fact it was so mainstream may well turn off some folks looking for more eclectic sounds.  Still, in spite of the set's commercial viability, about half of the compositions had something creatively going for them. The title track began as a bass propelled bubblegum ballad before gradually picking up instrumentation and musical steam.  Complete with some gorgeous harmony vocals, it should've been a major radio hit. Overlooking the clichéd lyrics, 'Mary Jane' was almost as good with the added bonus of some nice Allman Brothers styled twin lead guitars.  While it was a bit long, 'Jasmine Lady' was a pretty ballad that ended with another nice Allman Brothers styled guitar section.  Normally any song titled 'West Virginia' would make you grimace, but in this case you got another pretty country-rock flavored ballad that incorporated some pretty shimmering lead guitars.  The instrumental 'Wet Dream' showcased some voice box guitar theatrics that would have easily shamed Peter Frampton (think "Frampton Comes Alive").  Witness song titles like 'Queen of the Night', 'Rock & Roll Roadie', and 'Gotta Play That Rock & Roll' side two found the band falling into a more stereotyped genre. Listenable, but far more predictable  - imagine Head East, REO Speedway, etc.  The final track 'Quetzalcoatl' found the band going off into an unexpected bar band/progressive direction.   The album was also impressive from a sonic standpoint, boasting surprisingly accomplished production courtesy of engineer Bob Ernspiker.   Anyone out there got the scoop on these guys?  Drop me a note.

 

"Can You Feel It" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Can You Feel It - 2:59

'Can You Feel It' opened the album with a sweet, power-pop ballad that would not have sounded out of place on an Eric Carmen and the Raspberries album.   Very radio friendly and would have made a good single.    rating: *** stars

2.) Mary Jane - 4:50

I'll readily admit initially I wasn't all that impressed with the lead vocal on this one, but it's grown on me over the years; as has the song's country-rock flavor.   Nice Don Crum bass moves on this one; some of Jerry Chasteen prettiest lead guitar, and the band showcase some nice harmony vocals on the track.  rating: **** stars

3.) Jasmine Lady - 5:38

Well, 'Jasmine Lady' started out with some of the nicest wave sound effects ever recorded, before launching into a nifty, slightly lysergic-tinged ballad.  Kudos to Terry Kluesner for the lovely, glimmering keyboards and Jerry Chasteen for what sounded like some nice double tracked lead guitar.  Only complaint on this one was the abrupt ending.   rating: **** stars.

4.) West Virginia - 3:55

Not particularly original, but all-in-all a surprisingly likeable country-rock ballad.     rating: *** stars

5.) Wet Dream (instrumental) - 1:25

I'm guessing both Peter Frampton and  Joe Walsh would approve of Chasteen 's extended voice box workout.   Yeah, it sounds a bit dated today, but so what.  rating: *** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Queen of the Night - 4:47

Nice rocker, though it gets docked a star for the lame lyrics and the fact it sounded like they'd recorded the track in a shower stall.   rating: *** stars

2.) Rock & Roll Roadie - 4:34

The album's lone disappointment, 'Rock & Roll Roadie' was as original and inspiring as the title.  Mindless bar boogie tune that should have embarrassed the band's roadies.   rating; ** stars

3.) Gotta Play That Rock & Roll - 3:51

If anything, 'Gotta Play That Rock & Roll' was an even lamer slice of bar band futility.   Completely forgettable.  rating: ** stars

4.) Quetzalcoatl - 5:19

The closer 'Quetzalcoatl' found the band trotting out their bar band roots with a blazing, guitar-heavy rocker that unexpectedly included some progressive touches and another nice dollop of Chasteen's impressive lead guitar work.   Yeah, they packed a lot of lyrics into this one, but it had a great molten rock flavor and was one of the album highlights.   rating: **** stars

 

 

So a couple of months after I put this out on my website I got the following email:

 

Hi there. I was bored today, and did a search for my dad's band's LP--Dawson's "Can You Feel It." What a surprise to see it on your site, and with an actual review no less! Wow!

I don't know everything about the band (my parents divorced and I went to live with my mother before the band broke up--actually, before this album was made!--so I wasn't there for everything), but here's what I do know. The album was recorded in Louisville, but the band was from Indiana--mainly in the Bloomington area. My father (Terry--David's my uncle)  had actually been in bands with various names with guitarist Jerry since the late 60's. By the time they made "Can You Feel It" (their only album), they were gigging/touring heavily, though mostly only in Indiana and Kentucky. They did open for national acts--I know Gary U.S. Bonds for sure, and possibly REO Speedwagon when they were still doing the college circuit.

The interesting thing about the "Can You Feel It" album is that it's a bit "mellow" compared to there stage shows at the time. I always thought they sounded more like Deep Purple - live my father played a B3). Oh, and my father used to spit fire as part of the act! He used to do it for my brother and I sometimes too!

The band broke up in 1977, and i don't think any of the individual members ever really pursued music any further. They did reunite in 1988, however, to record a song I helped co-write. Besides "Can You Feel It," the only other Dawson recordings I know of are a handful of reel-to-reel demoed songs they recorded in 1977. Jerry and Terry's pre-Dawson band, Pure Ounce (uh huh, that's right!) released a single in 1969 (the year I was born!).

All members of Dawson are still alive. My father Terry lives in southern Florida, Jerry and Donny live in Indiana, and Dave lives in Holland.

 

Take care,
Jeff Kluesner, Los Angeles

June 2009

 

I poked around the internet a little and found a copy of the Pure Ounce 45:

 

 

- 'Beyond Reality' b/w 'Open Your Eyes' (Trump catalog number # 377)


Jeff's a musician himself having recorded a pair of album's with the band Jetliner  (2003's "Jetliner" and 2005's "Space Station").  Both collections are available on iTunes.

 

 

Strange coincidence.  I've slowly been reformatting some of the older reviews to make them easier to read (large font), better layout.   Dawson was one of the recent updates.   Out of the blue came the following email:

First, my name is Donnie Crum.  I’m the bass player for Dawson. To give everyone an update the group is still around; two members in Indiana, and two living in Florida. We continue to meet once or twice a year. This last year we gathered in Indiana and all had missed each other. The band is more than a typical garage band we lived and traveled together for about ten years. We have discussed getting back together and rerecording the original album. The album “Can You Feel it”  was recorded in Louisville Ky.

We were managed by Triangle Talent and our manager was Dave Snowden. I have read some of the stuff from Terry’s  son Jeff  who sent you a story.  Anyway if you would like to talk with me or communicate my email: xxx.   All the guys in the band appreciate all the information and thank everyone for  their nice comments.

Best Regards Donnie Crum (September 2014)

 

 

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