Lyrics & Analysis: Only Dreaming

When I close my eyes I think about it
When I woke today I thought about it
When I dream so bad I think about it
When I feel so bad I wanna shout it

Don’t you know you’d be all right
Don’t worry ‘bout tomorrow night
The time will come to see the light
And when does I’m only dreaming
I’m only dreaming

Things with wings and bats that sing surround me
Girls with nails and snails with curls around me
Snakes with teeth with gold beneath astound me
Apes with saws and dogs with claws have found me

Repeat chorus.

(Sax solo)

Repeat second verse and chorus

Jim Pembroke 1967

Artist: Blues Section
       Jim Pembroke, vocal
       Hasse Walli, guitar
       Mĺns Groundstroem, bass
       Ronnie Österberg, drums
       Saxophone, Eero Koivistoinen
       Otto Donner, piano
Release: A-side of 7” single Love Records LRS 1005, May 1967 (There is some 
confusion as to which is the A and B-side on this single. On the back of the 
sleeve ‘Call Me On Your Telephone’ is listed first, but according to the label 
‘Only Dreaming’ is the A-side.)
Studio: Finnvox
Producer: Otto Donner
Engineer: Erkki Hyvönen

General comment: Blues Section were an uneven lot, both with regard to style and playing ability. Jim Pembroke and Ronnie Österberg belonged in the serious end of pop/rock, Eero Koivistoinen was primarily a jazz player, Hasse Walli was a noisy young guitarist in love with his fuzz box, and Mĺns Groundstroem was a pretty straight-forward bass player. The arrangements were simple, with much space for improvisations by sax and guitar. When it worked the results were wonderful, and even when it didn’t at least it gave the band a unique sound.

The Music: This is an interesting early composition by Pembroke with a two-chord riff leading into some slightly unusual chord sequences. God knows why Donner found it necessary to double track the vocal. This, along with Pembroke’s slurring his voice, make part of the lyric almost incomprehensible, but otherwise it is not a bad vocal performance. There is no hiding the fact that Pembroke is a first class rock and pop singer. Unfortunately, the instrumental backing does not quite cut it to the same extent. Groundstroem puts in more energy than he is able to control and there is some unpleasant distortion to his sound, which may be either his fault or the engineer’s (or even a deliberate feature). Walli keeps his notorious fuzz box turned off but, like Groundstroem, his playing seems over-enthusiastic and consequently suffers from poor timing, which also goes for the piano (presumably overdubbed). The steadfast and ever tasteful Österberg tries hard to keep things together and be sympathetic to THE SONG. Unfortunately the sound of his kit, particularly the snare drum, is pretty dull, perhaps due to bad miking. Koivistoinen plays some nice lines behind the singer from the second verse onwards and also delivers a fine solo, though you have to ask yourself if a jazzy sax solo is what this rather pop-orientated song calls for.

With a bit more focus, some clear ambition and a defined vision – not to mention more studio time – this could have been a better record. However, despite its obvious shortcomings (particularly the lack of rhythmic coherence in the bass and guitar department, whether due to the players or poor monitoring in the studio), this is not a bad debut single. In fact, it represents one of the instances where the group’s unusual, somewhat anarchic ‘jazz-pop-blues bordering on punk’ style actually works.

The lyric: The title is reminiscent of John Lennon’s ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ but the similarities stop there. It’s been a year since Pembroke’s last single and here he tries to go a bit further lyrically with a song about some slight case of paranoia. As on the next single, ‘Hey Hey Hey’, the narrator has some sort of nagging problem, but it is only referred to as ‘it’. It could be discretion on Pembroke’s part, or he is deliberately leaving space for the listener to insert his/her own experiences.

-- Claes Johansen with thanks Nic Stayt, 2007