Bud Dashiell’s Solo LPs, Part 3: “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today”

UPDATE (5/14/08): Great news for Bud Dashiell fans! This LP (and the studio LP “Bud Dashiell & The Kinsmen” discussed in Part 1 of this post) is now available for preview and purchase on iTunes and Amazon.com. The live Kinsmen LP discussed in Part 2 is not currently available, but I’ll keep you posted if that changes.

Part 3 of “Bud Dashiell’s Solo LPs.” For Part 1, click HERE.

The landscape of popular music changed dramatically during the final two years that Bud & Travis were back together. Even the year they chose to reunite was pivotal. In 1963, folk music went prime time with the launch of ABC-TV’s Hootenanny! show, but it was also the year that the mighty Weavers — one of the most influential of all folk groups — finally called it quits.

Of course, Bud & Travis had never referred to themselves solely as “folk singers.” Travis had even gently protested that classification at their heralded 1960 live concert in Santa Monica:

“One of the things that is frequently said of Bud and myself is that we’re folksingers…I guess if we sing, and we’re folk…it fits. But we like to do anything that we like. We don’t like to…just stay on one kind of material, but anything that pleases us.”

But this was merely a semantic argument, for no matter what they performed from their vast and varied repertoire, they did it acoustically, which became somewhat of a hindrance on the pop scene after The Beatles crossed the pond in 1964 with their Rickenbackers and Hofners, and “plugged-in” was suddenly “in.” So when B&T disbanded for good in 1965 — the year Dylan went electric — the two returned to solo club dates, where an artist with an acoustic guitar and a song could still find an appreciative audience. Edmonson headed back to the Southwest. Dashiell remained in Los Angeles.

Bud Dashiell’s “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today”

Bud Dashiell’s I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today (W/WS-1731)

The times really had changed by 1968, when Dashiell released his final solo album, I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today (W/WS-1731). Instead of the record shipping out alongside LPs by The Kingston Trio (who disbanded in 1967) and The Chad Mitchell Trio (drawing a last breath as Denver, Boise & Johnson), it was marketed alongside Dashiell’s new Warner label mates The Beau Brummels, Harpers Bizarre, The Tokens and — in perhaps the most obvious evidence of a new musical day — The Grateful Dead.

Warner’s top folk franchise Peter, Paul & Mary were still touring, but even they had gone partly electric on 1967’s Album 1700 (on the satirical “I Dig Rock ‘n Roll Music,” among others), and were in the final months of their own Act I.

But Dashiell knew his mind, what he enjoyed and what he wanted to do musically. He’d retained his artistic integrity, and — like Edmonson — was an intelligent man with a good sense of humor and strong opinions. Following popular tastes of the day had never been a big factor for either man, and Dashiell’s liner notes reflected that:

“Who is speaking for the people who don’t get glassy-eyed and snap their fingers and say ‘yeeaahhh, baby’ when one of the paisley crowd drops some obscure verbal hallucination? So many noisemakers have been telling the American people to ‘listen’ that the American people really have started to listen. There are a lot of noncompartmentalized people who like to listen, and I like to talk to them.”

Singers speak through the language of song, and this LP offered up ten tracks for listeners to chew on. The variety is good, with one number from his B&T days, a couple blues chestnuts, three foreign language tunes (two in French from the late, great Gilbert Bécaud) and three songs from younger composers (Randy Newman, Jesse Colin Young and Gordon Lightfoot). Dashiell’s version of “Seasons in the Sun” (with a very tasty guitar intro reminiscent of B&T’s “Raspberries, Strawberries”) predated the schmaltzy Terry Jacks version by six years, but both of them learned it — as Bob Shane used to say in concert — off an old Kingston Trio album (1963’s A Time to Think).

Here’s the songlist as it appeared on the LP:

Side One:

  1. I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today (Randy Newman)
  2. Et Maintenant (What Now My Love) (Sigman-Delanoe-Becaud)
  3. Black Coffee (Webster-Burke)
  4. Vereda Tropical (Gonzolo-Curiel)
  5. Better Than Anything (Wheat-Loughborough)

Side Two:

  1. Seasons in the Sun (Brel-McKuen)
  2. Lullaby (Jesse Colin Young)
  3. Au Revoir (Gilbert-Becaud)
  4. Early Morning Rain (Gordon Lightfoot)
  5. Baltimore Oriole (Webster-Carmichael)

As with parts 1 & 2 of this essay, I’d like to offer audio of a few tracks since they are currently unavailable anywhere. Just click on the arrow/triangle in each individual “player” to hear the full-length tune. You won’t even have to leave the page.

First up is the title track, Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today.”

Next is a song that Bud first sang with Travis on ...In Person, a live LP recorded in 1964 at the Cellar Door in Washington D.C. The co-author of the song was with them on stage that night, since David “Buck” Wheat, late of the Kingston Trio and Whiskeyhill Singers, had recently joined the duo as bassist and Arranger Extraordinaire. The song? “Better than Anything.” So here is Bud’s solo version, sans Buck and Travis:

Third, a nylon string tour-de-force by Dashiell on Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain.”

The lovely “Lullaby” is a Jesse Colin Young tune, but Bud makes it own with a gently spoken intro to his own daughters.

Following the release of I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today, Dashiell continued to perform and teach guitar in Westwood through the early 1980s, when he suffered a seizure which severly affected the right side of his body. Less than a month later, Edmonson had a similar stroke, which incapacitated his left side.

Oliver Hassard Dashiell — who was born on September 28, 1929 (amazingly on the very same day as Edmonson) — died on June 2, 1989. Because of his distinguished service as a Battery Commander in the Korean War, he was buried in the Los Angeles National Military Cemetery, which borders the 405 freeway just north of Wilshire Boulevard. He was survived by his wife Mary and his two daughters.

Here’s Bud with a last word, once again from the …Gonna Rain liner notes:

“Right now, I’m an itinerant, a journeyman, a communicator, who wants to do things not because they are in vogue (I’ve been there) but because I am ready to talk of what I think, where I’m at, and how I feel a closeness to ideas like love, children, and my life.”

And with that, I say “Au Revoir” to Bud Dashiell.

craig hodgkins

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~ by Craig Hodgkins on January 8, 2008.

10 Responses to “Bud Dashiell’s Solo LPs, Part 3: “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today””

  1. Hi Craig,
    As one of many fans of Bud & Travis I enjoyed finding this web site. I personally own every album by B&T that they released plus some rare 45’s. Many of them have never been on a turntable or at least once. Thank you for filling in some of the details about my favorite group. I have never heard Bud sing some of the songs from I think its going to rain today. My turntable stopped working awhile ago, although I own a mint copy of ****rain today I enjoyed the ability to listen to those songs again. When I was a youth all my friends were in to rock n roll, and I was odd kid for I was a big fan of folk music.

  2. Thank You

  3. Huge fan of Bud & Travis music here… any chance you could forward my email address to Steve Weisner (above post)? I’m helping out the Travis Edmonson Collection website, which is running a charity to raise funds to help Travis. I’d love to know if Steve would be willing to help by sharing recordings of his rare B&T 45’s. Thanks for your help! And thanks again for the music!

  4. Jim: Thanks for stopping by to enjoy the music! I’ve passed your info along to Steve, and I hope you can connect.

  5. Bud was my guitar teacher and mentor. He could “send” me with just one single guitar strum with a touch like no other guitar player. Beyond chords, strums or picking styles, Bud was able to teach how one makes music as well as demonstrating it. How fortunate we were to be taught by this master of the guitar, voice and passionate entertainment.

    • Hi, Jo Anne: You were very lucky indeed. Both of the guys were a gift from heaven. Do you happen to know if Travis is still living? Lee

  6. I envy your experiences of studying with Bud, Jo Anne. I’ve had a very fortunate life, and have met many of my heroes, but Bud is one of those people I always felt would have been fascinating to talk with. Thanks for stopping by, and for sharing!

  7. Bud would have enjoyed talking with you, too, Craig. Funny little aside: We had an on-going ritual. On the way to my guitar lesson, I’d pick up these killer hamburgers from this little stand on Santa Monica Blvd. One for Bud and one for me. And for the first 15 minutes of my lesson we’d eat and shoot the breeze but mostly ooh and ahh over how great those burgers were. Funny what we remember.

  8. Bud was also my guitar teacher as well as performance teacher. He had a little studio
    on Westwood Blvd. with a stage in the back and on Wed. nights a bunch of us would
    perform and get his critiques.

    He was always so positive, that I had trouble believing him. He said so many really nice things about my singing and playing and my ability to make it as a troubadour
    that my own insecurity doubted him. I wish I had paid more attention to what he
    said and had the confidence to follow up at that time. He also introduced me, through
    several of his students to R.L. Mattingly, who made the guitars many of his students
    played. Bob made the most wonderful sounding classical guitars I had ever heard
    and I did buy one used.
    Bud was a real character, no B.S., no ego, no image…just the real deal.
    Great to see this website. I remember him fondly and still have all the fantastic
    arrangements he did for me of songs I wanted to learn with his beautiful chord
    substitutions and use of ascending and descending bass lines.

    Ron

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