The Weirdest Album From 1964 Was From A Sleep-Talking Lyricist

The Weirdest Album From 1964 Was From A Sleep-Talking Lyricist

There are regular ol’ spoken word albums, and then there’s The Dream World of Dion McGregor. This curiosity, distributed by Decca Records in 1964, is a recording of the songwriter talking in his sleep, ostensibly narrating aloud whatever strange nighttime visions running through his brain.

It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, an extremely weird listen through someone’s shut-eye rambles. McGregor was a struggling lyricist in the hours he was awake, and — apparently — an incredibly prolific storyteller when he was not. His creative partner, composer Michael Barr, decided to document the strange tales and, over the course of almost a decade, got audio of McGregor doing his snoozy thang.

Though the vinyl itself was a bit of a bomb, master artist of the offbeat Edward Gorey liked it so much that he illustrated an entire book based on the transcribed text. In some ways, this seems like a perfect medium for McGregor’s thoughts, which are like a million short fictions shmooshed into a super surreal, stream-of-subconsciousness A- and B-side. I could imagine an entire collection of writers all taking bits and pieces of these yarns and spinning them into a bizarro anthology.

And while it’s easy to think “HOAX!!”, I want to believe that these guys were on the level. Besides, even if they’re not, this is out-there enough to warrant a high-five for subversive effort. And hey: Earlier this year, a (successful) Kickstarter campaign was launched to bring the rare, unreleased recordings to a broader audience on this, its 50th anniversary, and Mental Floss just published a short profile, so there’s clearly still interest in the dude and his nocturnal ideas.

I had the whole thing playing in the background this afternoon and there’s something soothing about his voice, even if you’re not really following along. I could see it as something I’d put on quietly as I was trying to doze off myself, beginning what would undoubtedly be a meta chain reaction of dreams influencing dreams. [Mental Floss
; Kickstarter; Wikipedia]