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Sunday, October 26, 2008

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 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!


Blogger HerbisOrbis said...

Stu, I'm loving the 'non-Beatles Beatles' series! Where do you FIND this stuff?

9:55 AM, October 27, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really nice find. Yes, the melody is a bit close at times (to a certain PM tune), but it's all really understated and nice. The energy level reminds me of late 60's English folk-rock-y kinds of things.

Julia says hello!


11:23 AM, October 27, 2008

Blogger Derek See said...

WOW!!! This is so amazing. Just as you said, some bands only have one good song in them...Truly shows the beauty of a 45 RPM record. I need to find this one for sure; thanks for sharing.

7:01 PM, October 27, 2008

Blogger larryepke said...

Here's the entry on The United Nations from “Fuzz, Acid and Flowers.”

The United Nations

Personnel incl:

1 In My Dreams/Cause I Love You (Cha Cha 771) 1966

Soft Invasion-beat sounds from this Chicago outfit whose In My Dreams unashamedly borrows a couple of melody lines from The Beatles' You Won't See Me. Pleasant, but not for the fuzz'n'farfisa fanatic.
Robert Economous sadly passed away in 1993 from lung cancer, aged 48.

So they have pretty much what you have.

7:54 AM, October 28, 2008

Blogger YourFriendFrank said...

United Nations is a grindcore supergroup whose roots go back to at least 2005.[1] They refer to their musical genre as "emo-power-violence"...

Okay, maybe not the same guys.

11:41 AM, November 11, 2008

Blogger Bob Purse said...

This is a nice little record, understated and pretty. On the other hand, I suspect that if it had received any significant airplay, a lawsuit might have been forthcoming. I also hear echoes of 'I Am a Rock', although it's not even clear to me if that song had come out yet, when this was recorded. I think 2:30 might have worked better than almost four minutes, do you?

Thanks for sharing this one. I'll name this my third favorite record from Cha Cha.

1:41 PM, November 20, 2008

Blogger Christina said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:27 AM, July 09, 2009

Blogger Christina said...

Bob Economous is my brother. Today is his birthday and he would've been 64. He was a wonderful man, musician and song writer. We (my sisters Delores, Margo and I) all thank those who left such kind comments about "In My Dreams". Bob would've been thrilled. :)

Christina (Economous) Guinn

9:08 AM, July 09, 2009

Blogger Bob said...

I have been looking for some of my father's(Bob Economous)recordings for some time, as my mother never kept anything. Thank you for posting this.

3:58 PM, July 22, 2009

Blogger Rachel said...

I have a copy of this. Mom did keep it and gave it to me.

Aunt Chris, please email...

8:58 AM, March 07, 2010


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