Today’s Track of the Day gives me a chance to scratch an entry off my summer backlog. Dreamin’ Wild was the only LP released by brothers Donnie and Joe Emerson—first in 1978, and then earlier this summer in a handsome reissue package by Light in the Attic. The brothers grew up in rural Washington and recorded the album in their home studio, a plot of farmland their father reportedly spent $100,000 converting into a usable recording space. 17-year-old Donnie wrote and produced the record, while 19-year-old Joe contributed the drums (just about everything else is Donnie). (The LA Times goes into more detail about the Emerson family, if you’re curious.) Don, Sr. also paid for the construction of Camp Jammin’, a performance venue on the Emerson family farm with a capacity of 300 and all the comforts of a rock club that doesn’t happen to be way the hell out in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say, the album—and Camp Jammin’—didn’t reach its audience as intended; the Emerson family lost most of their 1600-acre farm as a result.
Yet in the past five years, Dreamin’ Wild has attracted increasing attention among the thrift-store and mix-tape set, likely due in no small part to the record’s unusual outsider-art-meets-AM-pop vibe. Ariel Pink’s been stanning for the Emersons for a few years now and covered their “Baby” on his latest album. You be the judge. Regardless, it’s a record that deserves the attention, so check it out if you like what you hear.