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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Dunson, Van - 1979 Van Dunson
Dunson, Van - 1979 Van Dunson


ARTIST: Dunson, Van
ALBUM: Van Dunson
LABEL: Strand (Germany)
SERIAL: 6.24398 AP
YEAR: 1979


LINEUP: Van Dunson - lead and backing vocals, piano * David Wheatley - arranger, conductor, keyboards, orchestra, piano, backing vocals * Richard Bennett, Dennis Budimir, Earl Slick - guitars * Dee Murray - bass, backing vocals * Ian Underwood - synthesizer * Jim Varley - drums * Margo Guryan, David Rosner - production

TRACK LISTING: 01 Human Error * 02 Satellite * 03 Baby, I Believe In You * 04 You're All I Need To Get By * 05 Is It Right * 06 Frozen Flight * 07 Introductions * 08 The Transient * 09 Do It Better * 10 How Long Will It Take

Here's a rare LP from 1979 that will appeal to those GDM readers who are into symphonic pop. Van Dunson was mostly a piano player from Los Angeles, who had obviously bowed at the altar of Queen, E.L.O, early Air Supply, 10cc and Toto. This LP was picked up by German record label Strand, and did not see a local North American release at the time. Visually, Dunson kinda reminds me Richard Carpenter with a hint of Richard Clayderman, but don't be confused, as this LP is very cool, and even features Earl Slick on guitar.

The Songs
The music does change style throughout, but I think the piano led symphonic pop sub-genre is right where 'Van Dunson' is at. The LP was produced by Margo Guryan, who in her own capacity, was a significant performer and songwriter during the late 60's. The album is heavily orchestrated, with David Wheatley (himself a recording artist) handling the conductor duties. The lead-off track 'Human Error' is a bouncy track with a load of tippy-tap piano. 'Satellite' features an ethereal alto vocal, and is quite nice though different. 'Baby I Believe In You is the album's ballad moment, but things get interesting with the funky west-coast of 'You're All I Need To Get By', a terrific tune. The deep funky bass lines of 'Is It Right' changes up the mood of the LP yet again, with some searing guitar work from Mr Slick. 'Frozen Flight' is the longest track here, at over 5 minutes, and could be described as progressive pop, while 'Introductions' is just the smoothest laid back pop. For mine, the best track is 'The Transient'. If you could imagine Queen or Aviary fused with 10cc, then this is what it would sound like. Further expanding the boundaries is the early Toto sounding 'Do It Better', the album concluded by the tail-ender 'How Long Will It Take', which features the modulating organ as the lead instrument, and rocks along with great intent.

In Summary
Dunson released a handful of singles in 1978 prior to the release of the LP, all of the songs such as 'The Transient', 'Introductions' and 'Frozen Flight' all appear here. I have yet to find a vinyl rip of the LP, but you can listen to its entirety on Spotify (see link above), which is what I used as my audio source for this review. There are three or four videos up on YouTube too. This would be the only LP from Mr Dunson, and I would be interested to know what became of him during the 80's, as he sure had a lot to offer musically.

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#1 | gdazegod on August 26 2016 23:42:42
Van Dunson - 1979 The Transient
YouTube Video:

Or direct to YouTube: YouTube Video:
#2 | englandashes on August 27 2016 10:58:32
This is a new one on me, noticed on Amazon trader that a cd version is available but high price, interesting George. On the Oglio label, whatever that is?
#3 | gdazegod on August 27 2016 12:16:18
Let's do some Sherlock Holmes Mr Harper!
#4 | Nick C on August 27 2016 13:31:39
Here's a link to some info on the Oligo label from Discogs...
I'm assuming it's the same one? You can click on the parent company link on the page as well for a bit more info.
#5 | Nick C on August 27 2016 13:39:00
Here's the website for the label it would seem too I was perusing their catalogue and was surprised to see Roger Joseph Manning - Catnip Dynamite on there. I have the Jap version on Pony Canyon...does anyone have the Oglio one?
#6 | englandashes on August 27 2016 13:50:30
Thank you Nick and George, hmmm Redd Kross,Sparks....if I can find my Roger Manning I will have a look, my current filing can be best described as hap-hazard, anyway gone for the cheaper vinyl copy from Germany, looking forward to it, good find George.
#7 | englandashes on August 27 2016 13:55:20
Well, easier than I thought, yes my copy is the Oglio version, total of 14 tracks, which says three are US bonus tracks, being 'Europa and the Pirates', 'You Were Right' and 'Love Lies Bleeding'.
#8 | Eric on August 27 2016 14:04:03
I've been Facebook friends with Margo Guryan for several years and a while ago she sent me a photo of her and Van Dunson in the studio recording this album, in fact there might be photos on her page as well. I'll see if i can find it in my e mails....
#9 | Eric on August 27 2016 14:05:50
By the way, huge fan of this record and Margo...
#10 | gdazegod on August 29 2016 02:47:30
I have some more info on Van Dunson which I will bolt into the above article. Give me a few days to edit..
#11 | Terje Hoiland on August 31 2016 19:18:38
Awesome album, had it for years on lp. Made my own CDR of it back then, but would love to have it on Cd Anyone knows where I can get it ? Links?
#12 | gdazegod on August 31 2016 19:46:35
Terje, I had a look around for it last weekend, so did Chris (englandashes). There was some reference to it on Amazon, through the record label Oglio. Searching through their catalogue on both RYM and Discogs draws no results. The Amazon posting does say something about it being 'made to order', and it does appear to be a CD-R. Here's the link: https://www.amazo...Van+Dunson
#13 | Terje Hoiland on August 31 2016 23:46:52
Thanks George! I also saw that on Amazon, looks like a cdr. Some mention a Oglio version, but like you can`t find it anywhere. It also have 14 tracks, while the cdr from Amazon only has 12. Looks like it might have been rippped from lp and a 7`vinyl single, and not from the Oglio Version. For those who have the Oglie Version, whats the quality? from lp or mastertape?
#14 | misterpomp on March 08 2017 15:15:01
I've got a 5 track tape of songs from after the album. It contains 'Harvest Home' (which is on youtube) and 'Megasong' which was a single plus 3 others. I got it from someone (memory going) at TBMC back in the early 2000s(?). The LP's great - would love a proper CD of it.
#15 | mickey on February 08 2018 20:16:32
Never heard a word on this guy before thiis great review but what a special album. Chapeau.
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