Johnny Adams: Dreams Must Be Going Out of Style


Dreams Must Be Going Out of Style


Johnny Adams (vocals)


The Verdict (Rounder 2135)

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Johnny Adams (vocals),

Steve Masakowski (7-string acoustic guitar), James Singleton (bass), Michael Skinkus (congas)


Composed by Doc Pomus & Mac Rebennack


Recorded: New Orleans, LA, June-August 1994


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

After a long career of singing and recording R&B, gospel, blues, soul and even country, The Verdict was only Johnny Adams's second jazz album, a follow-up to Good Morning Heartache. Possessing an expressive voice of extremely wide range from high falsetto to guttural lows, Adams was truly one of New Orleans' greatest musical treasures, albeit a somewhat underappreciated one, up to the time of his death in 1998 at age 66. "The Tan Canary," as Adams was known, had a particular affinity for the songs of Doc Pomus and Mac Rebennack (aka Dr. John), and Doc and Mac in turn were among his biggest fans. In 1959 Rebennack produced Adams's first single ("I Won't Cry"), and in 1962 wrote Adams's first national R&B hit ("A Losing Battle"), while the singer recorded an entire tribute CD of Pomus tunes (the majority co-written by Rebennack) in 1991, just months after Pomus's passing.

"Dreams Must Be Going Out of Style" was a previously unrecorded Pomus/Rebennack collaboration, and is an absolute gem. Masakowski's acoustic guitar intro is enchantingly folksy and wistful. Adams sings the lyrics almost conversationally, but also intimately and straight-from-the-heart, expressing the no-frills emotion of Pomus at his best—think of his old tunes for the Drifters such as "This Magic Moment" and "Save the Last Dance for Me" and you'll get the idea. "I know it's gonna be cloudy tonight / 'cause I want to make a wish upon a star." Adams fully restrains the natural power of his voice to deliver a beautifully subtle performance. His backing trio is in unerring rapport with him all the way, including the delightfully drawn-out ending. This is a prime Johnny Adams track.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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