Friday, 23 August 2013

Purple Mess

Easily one of the oddest things I've ever brought you, today's track is Dion DiMucci's peculiar folkie version of the Jimi Hendrix classic Purple Haze.

You'll all remember Dion. You may well have cut a rug to his big hits: Runaround Sue, Teenager in Love and The Wanderer. It's even possible that you know that he recorded the original version of the Marvin Gaye classic Abraham, Martin and John. However its less likely that you'll know the follow up...the unmitigated flop (it barely scratched the charts, reaching a miserable Number 63 in the States) that you can hear here.

Issued in January 1969, it really is a mess. I don't buy in to the idea that this unusual interpretation was a brave move: it's a disaster. It's trying to be clever but it fails miserably. To me it sounds like a bored club singer riffing along to the tune of Puff, the Magic Dragon. From a man who cheated death several times - he was due to be on the plane with Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens and for many years battled a king-sized heroin addiction - you'd expect his performance to be a bit more life affirming. I didn't bother to upload the B-side, The Dolphins, as it's just plain boring.

A born-again Christian who these days - at the age of 74 - practices ministry in prisons and uses his own dark experiences to inform his work with addicts, he's still recording: he's been nominated for a Grammy twice in recent years. Rightfully revered as one of the elder statesmen of Rock 'n Roll, let's just hope he never does anything this horrid again.



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