Homeless Brother

Homeless Brother

by Don McLeanDon McLean


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After taking an album off as a songwriter with the all-covers collection Playin' Favourites in 1973, Don McLean returned to providing most of the compositions on his fifth LP Homeless Brother in 1974. It was an ambitious work, which he signaled by a sleeve note on the back cover in which he described "the vision of this album...growing within...." That vision, or concept, seemed to be embodied in the title and corresponding album cover, a painting of a hobo inside a boxcar. And, indeed, in song after song, notably the title track, which found McLean being accompanied by his mentor, Pete Seeger, on background vocals, there were references to hoboes and hoboing. (The record was dedicated to Lee Hays, Seeger's partner in the Weavers.) But there was also an entirely different concept at work on Homeless Brother, one that to some extent contradicted the hobo theme. That concept was also suggested in the original packaging, which was a glossy gatefold LP cover, the actual album sleeve containing both the lyrics and lengthy lists of high-priced studio musicians including horn and string sections working at the behest of producer Joel Dorn. All this suggested a major recording effort and a big release with the big sales such a release was intended to garner. And, indeed, many of the tracks were creamy pop productions that seemed to have little in common with the hobo theme. Certainly, much of the music would have confused a buyer who picked up the album based on the title and cover painting and expected a modern version of a topical folk album. On the other hand, the audience that might have been interested in the smooth soft-rock pop music inside probably would have been put off by the title and cover. That may help explain the album's curious commercial fate. United Artists Records released the attractive love song "La La Love You" as a single, but failed to break it, and the LP foundered on the charts. Then, months later, a second single, the infectious 1930s-styled "Wonderful Baby" (a song written for Fred Astaire, who recorded it, with some deceptively childlike lyrics that turned out to be somewhat caustic upon close examination) was put out on 45 and proceeded to top the Billboard easy listening chart, much too late to do any good to the album on which it originated.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/01/1996
Label: Bgo - Beat Goes On
UPC: 5017261202475
catalogNumber: 247
Rank: 56123

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Don McLean   Primary Artist,Banjo,Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Pete Seeger   Vocals,Background Vocals
William Eaton   Conductor
Joe Brown   Trumpet
Persuasions   Vocals
Seldon Powell   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Joe Wilder   Trumpet
Marlene VerPlanck   Vocals,Background Vocals
Brown   Viola
Ralph MacDonald   Percussion
Kenny Vance   Background Vocals
Dave Carey   Percussion
David Nadien   Violin
George Duvivier   Bass
Yusef Lateef   Flute
Steven Soles   Vocals,Background Vocals
Ned Albright   Vocals,Background Vocals
Sanford Allen   Violin
Ray Alonge   Horn,French Horn
George Barrow   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Garnett Brown   Trombone
James Buffington   Tuba,Horn,French Horn
Cissy Houston   Vocals,Background Vocals
Selwart Clarke   Viola
Harry Cykman   Violin
Willie C. Daniels   Vocals
Joel Dorn   Vocals,Background Vocals
Jonathan Dorn   Tuba
Max Ellen   Violin
Charles Fawlkes   Saxophone
Charlie Fowlkes   Baritone Saxophone
Emanuel Green   Violin
Diana Halprin   Violin
Harry Lookofsky   Violin
Jimmy Hayes   Percussion,Vocals
Julius Held   Violin
Norma Holmes   Vocals,Background Vocals
Willis "Gator" Jackson   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Arthur Jenkins   Keyboards
Kathryn Kienke   Violin
Walter King   Wind
Harold Kohon   Violin
Jerry Lawson   Percussion,Vocals
Charles Libove   Violin
Guy Lumia   Violin
Joseph Malignaggi   Violin
George Marge   Flute,Oboe,Wind
Arlene Martell   Vocals,Background Vocals
Hugh McCracken   Guitar
Charles McCracken   Cello
Helene Miles   Vocals,Background Vocals
Daniel Moore   Trumpet
Kermit Moore   Cello
Linda November   Vocals,Background Vocals
Gene Orloff   Strings,Violin
Max Pollikoff   Violin
Matthew Raimondi   Violin
Herbert Rhoad   Percussion,Vocals
George Ricci   Cello
Joseph Russell   Vocals
Julius Schachter   Violin
Billy Slapin   Clarinet,Flute,Wind
David Spinozza   Guitar
Ronelle Stafford   Vocals,Background Vocals
Richard Tee   Keyboards
Jerry Teiffer   Background Vocals,Human Whistle
Brooks Tillotson   Horn,French Horn
Deirdre Tuck Corley   Vocals
Willie Weeks   Bass
Avram Weiss   Violin
Charles Williams   Saxophone,Alto Saxophone
Danny Moore   Trumpet
Renelie Stafford   Background Vocals
Emanuel Vardi   Viola
Deidre Tuck   Background Vocals
Jimmy Haynes   Vocals
Sean Paul Powell   Tenor Saxophone
Peter Gordon   Horn,French Horn
Wally King   Bassoon
Andrew Smith   Drums

Technical Credits

Jack Kerouac   Author
William Eaton   Arranger
George Harrison   Composer
Don McLean   Liner Notes
Kenny Vance   Contributor
Yusef Lateef   Contributor
Joel Dorn   Producer,Liner Notes
Joe Ferla   Engineer
Bob Liftin   Engineer,Remixing
Herb Gart   Management
John Tobler   Liner Notes
Tom Clack   Sound Effects

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