Even More Non-Beatles Beatles
Here's a charming 45 in the early Beatles mode by United Nations, a completely obscure group most likely hailing either from Illinois or Indiana. I'm guessing that this record, released on the Chicago area Cha Cha label, dates from 1966.
"In My Dreams" has a melody similar to that of a certain McCartney composition from side one of Rubber Soul, but the arrangement, using nylon-stringed guitar, bass, and drums, is just as reminiscent of Beatles For Sale.
This is spare but affecting. I dig the wavering harmony vocals on the chorus, and the sparse backing lends a bit more of a chill to the already grim lyrics. The rhyming of "forest," "chorus," and "porous" is a genius moment.
You might notice, on playing this, that the recording is in stereo, which in this case is extremely strange. Rarely were singles released in stereo before 1969, and small labels rarely put them out in stereo at all.
Also enjoyable is that the label lists the song's time as "2:30." It actually lasts 3:41. Sometimes record companies would intentionally shorten the timing of a song to increase the chances of airplay, but I'd be surprised if this record was ever played on any station existing outside the group's immediate neighborhood, or indeed its collective imagination.
The flip side is nothing, but that's no surprise; an awful lot of groups only have one good song. The writers of "In My Dreams" and its b-side are two folks named Economous and Archbold.
Or so it seems. Doing some research today I decided to "misspell" Archbold and...land ho! I got some results!
Turns out that a Bob Economous and a Bill Archibald (note the spelling) were in bands (The Palace Combo, The Tornados) on the south shore of Chicago in the 60s. Economous, who was said to be a great guitar player, has apparently passed away from lung cancer.
I salute thee, United Nations. Hope someone who knows more about these guys than I checks in!