Tuesday, October 01, 2019

The dream Syndicate : Ghost Stories 1988

Ghost Stories is the fourth studio album by the Los Angeles-based alternative rock band The Dream Syndicate. It was released in 1988, just a year before the band broke up.

The Dream Syndicate were dropped from A&M Records for disappointing sales after Medicine Show (1984), and broke up. They got back together to make Out of the Grey (1986) on Big Time Records, but the record company folded and the band retired again.

Lead singer and songwriter Steve Wynn played solo for a bit before the band reformed with the help of a record deal with Enigma Records to make Ghost Stories, released in 1988 and produced by Elliot Mazer of Neil Young fame. Mazer, apparently, thought that conflict was a positive creative force and made Wynn work while sick, and even "intentionally angered" him.

In January 1988, before the album was released, The Dream Syndicate recorded a live show in a club in Los Angeles; these recordings were produced by Mazer and they were released in 1989 as Live at Raji's. Other recordings made between 1985 and 1988 (that is, between Out of the Grey and Ghost Stories) were released in 1996 as The Lost Tapes.

Opening with the self-referential "The Side I'll Never Show," and produced by Neil Young and Crazy Horse vet Elliot Mazer, Wynn and Co. mine the dark and rusty terrain of folk and blues-rock that they ultimately made work to their advantage on this very straight-ahead rock album. Wynn's vocal style and forthright lyrics never really connected with the masses at the time, but years later, it's clear he was making music for the ages.

Ghost Stories is more like Medicine Show. That big, noisy mess also has some bluesy undercurrents that give it a familiar feel even if it’s under all that noise. And the album contains some fantastic tracks, including two unexpectedly beautiful ballads, and had two songs that might have charted if they’d been released as singles, “I Have Faith” and “Black”.


The Side I'll Never Show
02. My Old Haunts
03. Loving the Sinner, Hating the Sin
04. Whatever You Please
05. Weathered and Torn
06. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (Blind Lemon Jefferson)
07. I Have Faith (Steve Wynn, Johnette Napolitano)
08. Someplace Better Than This
09. Black
10. When the Curtain Falls


Steve Wynn – vocals, guitar
Paul B. Cutler – guitar, backing vocals
Mark Walton – bass
Dennis Duck – drums
Chris Cacavas – piano, organ, accordion, backing vocals
N. Velvet – backing vocals
Rob Stennett – guitar
Robert Lloyd – guitar on "Someplace Better Than This"
Johnette Napolitano - backing vocals on "I Have Faith"


  1. saw them on their farewell tour in '88, i think, here in Boston, and its STILL one of the best shows i've ever seen......


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