See What Your Love Can Do- The Terry Dolan Story | Shore Fire Media

7 September, 2016Print

See What Your Love Can Do- The Terry Dolan Story

I don’t read music and I don’t know half of the names of the chords I use, but I know the sound. –Terry Dolan


When Terry Dolan delivered his self-titled debut record to Warner Bros. in late-1972, he had every reason to be optimistic. Full of great songs, played by an all-star cast of musicians, Terry Dolan was an auspicious album, a whirlwind of songs and musicianship, that seemed certain to elevate its creator to that rarefied “next level” in the rock pantheon. You could hear momentum in these tapes—the fervor in Terry’s voice, coupled with the inspired playing of the unparalleled group of musicians he’d assembled—the album had enormous potential to connect with a wide audience.


As he sings in his signature song, Terry came out from the East Coast—Weston, Connecticut to be exact—where at the age of 14, he first picked up a guitar, learned a few chords from a family friend, and soaked up the elemental and essential music of Lead Belly, Hank Williams, Wanda Jackson, Carl Perkins, and Buddy Holly. Inspired by the early-’60s Boston folk scene, Terry decided to ditch his college political-science studies and decamp to the nation’s capital to become a folk singer. He worked for an economics-consulting firm by day, and played Washington, D.C.’s clubs, bars, and coffee houses at night—honing his sound with just an acoustic guitar and his soul-stirring voice.


If you were an East Coast folkie in 1965, especially one with a rock ’n’ roll heart, there was a current pulling inexorably westward—to a mythic land of open minds, community, and creative possibility. Terry moved to San Francisco that summer. Just 21 years old, he was making the scene and booking gigs almost immediately after he’d arrived. Fellow musicians were Terry’s lifeblood, and through them he forged deep alliances and friendships that would become the musical and social bedrock of his life.


On April 4, 1968, the night Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, Terry met his future wife. “He and his friend and fellow folk singer Michael Hunt got off the same bus as me, at Geary and Fillmore,” Angie Dolan recalls. “I was a newbie from Texas, and they were legitimate hippies. They invited my roommate and me to their gig at a coffee house on Union St. We had never been to a live folk show before, and we were very impressed.”


By then, Terry Dolan had made a name for himself with his wild, electric energy and passionate performances. As he would later remark, “People used to tell me that I played too hard for a folk singer. And when I started playing rock, they said I played too soft and too many ballads. I like ballads. I prefer corners in my music, rather than edges. Rock is just as much a part of me as folk is, and playing both teaches you to find the groove.” Terry became a fixture at hip San Francisco clubs like the Matrix and Keystone Korner, and was soon playing colleges, festivals and larger concert venues, opening for big names, including B.B. King, Elvin Bishop, Blue Cheer, and Taj Mahal.


Greg Douglass, guitarist for Bay Area psychedelic mainstays Country Weather, (and later a member of Mistress, The Steve Miller Band and The Greg Khin Band) remembers Terry’s inveterate fearlessness as one of his band’s regular opening acts. “It was an odd mixture. Country Weather was a kind of somewhat more melodious combination of Cream and Blue Cheer. Terry was a New England transplant, a 12-string-strumming folk troubadour whose role model, both musically and in terms of attitude, was the legendary singer-songwriter Dino Valenti (who would later join Quicksilver Messenger Service). But Terry had balls for days, getting up in front of our audience, armed with only his voice, guitar, and a fiery, Irish inner-flame goading him.”


Douglass and Dolan decided to pool their talents, working out songs at the tiny North Beach apartment Terry shared with Angie, and eventually playing out as a duo. “The transition from folk to rock was when Terry opened shows for Country Weather,” Angie says. “That was the beginning of Terry going from acoustic to electric guitar.” Greg Douglass and Terry Dolan grew close during this period, and Douglass would remain Terry’s lifelong musical ally.


* * *


Writing great songs, steeped in both rock and folk, and gigging with a red-hot guitarist, Terry’s next logical step was to capture some of the music on tape. With the help of a friend who was a roadie for Quicksilver Messenger Service, Terry approached the legendary British session pianist Nicky Hopkins, a newly minted Bay Area resident, to produce two of his songs. Terry was thrilled when Hopkins agreed to both produce and play piano on the sessions. In August of 1970, Terry Dolan made his first demo recordings at San Francisco’s Golden State Recorders. Country Weather was the backing band, and the session was engineered by Dan Healy (who would go on to become chief audio engineer for the Grateful Dead). The musicians cut two Terry Dolan originals: the anthemic, autobiographical, “Inlaws And Outlaws,” and the pristinely beautiful ballad, “Angie,” which Terry had written for the love of his life.  


Before the demo was finished, a Bay Area music legend would join the proceedings and add his inimitable guitar playing to Terry’s songs. In an interview from the late-’80s, Terry picks up the story. “John Cipollina had been working over at the old Pacific High Recorders, finishing up the Hawaiian albums with Quicksilver. Halfway through the session, Nicky called him up, and told him to come on over and play some tracks on ‘Inlaws’ and ‘Angie.’ So he came over, and that’s how I met Johnny. He overdubbed about 43 tracks, as usual.”


“It was dynamite,” enthuses Greg Douglass. “Fueled by Ritalin and a new fuzz box, I played my ass off, and the band killed it, and the song “Inlaws And Outlaws” became an instant airplay hit on KMPX and KSAN, the local underground FM stations!”

The high energy of the sessions captured on tape propelled Terry further into the Bay Area rock scene. “‘Inlaws And Outlaws’ was a great song,” says Vicky Cunningham, who was Terry’s manager  at the time, as well as Bill Graham’s secretary. “KSAN and KMPX started playing it all the time, and everybody was calling and wanting to buy it—only it wasn’t a record (it was a demo tape). So every time they played that tape, we’d have to announce, it’s not a record, don’t go to the record store. You can’t really get it yet.” Indeed, “Inlaws And Outlaws” became an unofficial #1 hit on KSAN, where DJ Bob McClay played it nearly every day for over a year. KSAN and KMPX DJs who left for gigs in other markets were known to take copies of Terry’s tape with them. “Inlaws And Outlaws” was soon getting good airplay as far afield from San Francisco as Detroit, Boston and New York.


Favorable response to the song was such that on April 24, 1971, The San Francisco Examiner ran a piece on Terry and “Inlaws And Outlaws”.


With things looking pretty good for the former folkie, San Francisco music attorney Brian Rohan, along with Warner Bros. A&R man, Tom Donahue (whose label, Autumn Records, had helped launch the San Francisco music scene in the mid-’60s), used the strength of Terry’s demos to secure him an album deal with Warner Bros. Records. Angie Dolan remembers the Warner’s deal happening very quickly, and with the major airplay “Inlaws And Outlaws” had been receiving, she notes, “some journalists predicted that an album would be an instant hit.”


The contract named Nicky Hopkins as the producer for Terry’s album—the only time he would ever take on that role for another artist. It was an arrangement that caused snags almost immediately. “Things became bogged down due to Nicky’s schedule,” Douglass remembers. “Everybody wanted his time and talent, and The Rolling Stones were a tad higher on the food chain than Terry. Finally, Terry tearfully appealed to Nicky, and time was scheduled. Since I had put in many, many hours with Terry, and knew the songs well, I was the one person from Country Weather to be picked for the sessions.”


With the help of Nicky Hopkins, Terry assembled an incomparable Bay Area backing band that sparkled with talent. Hopkins would again occupy the piano chair, as well as the producer’s. On drums: Prairie Prince, member of both performance-art-rockers The Tubes, and The Golden Gate Rhythm Section (a trio with former Santana members Neal Schon and Greg Rollie, and the embryonic incarnation of future mega-stars Journey). On bass: Lonnie Turner of the Steve Miller Band. Sharing guitar duties with Douglass was John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service. Singing background vocals were June, Bonnie, and Anita Pointer, a.k.a. The Pointer Sisters—a full year before their own debut album would be released on Blue Thumb. Rounding out the all-star cast was former Jefferson Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden (at the time, drumming with The New Riders), playing percussion.

In mid-January of 1972, Terry and his handpicked group entered Wally Heider’s San Francisco Studios to begin cutting tracks for his debut album. The ensuing sessions re-created the mix of folk-infused, high-octane rock magic that had made the demos so special. Nicky Hopkins, resplendent in a green velvet cape, set the tone. As a novice producer, Hopkins was accommodating. Greg Douglass notes, “Nicky went out of his way to make me personally feel comfortable. He would make suggestions, but would very much let you have your own head. He fell off his chair—literally—after I did my first overdub on a solo. That’s a nice reaction from someone that I absolutely idolized.” Prairie Prince concurs, “It was relaxed and flowed effortlessly throughout the day, with lots of banter and jokes.” The respect and admiration the musicians had for each other radiated throughout the studio. Greg Douglass: “I was just so thrilled to be where I was, with all these big-time players that I felt like a beacon of musical energy. The bassist was Lonnie Turner, who I was flabbergasted to be working with. I was a huge Steve Miller fan, and Lonnie had always amazed me with his seemingly effortless, fluid groove. He was working with Dave Mason at the time, and we instantly hit it off. I do remember the entrance of the ‘rock ’n’ roll raconteur’ John Cipollina, who I had been briefly introduced to at the original Country Weather sessions. John was not just approachable—he was unavoidable in his charisma and outward friendliness. After seeing his onstage persona many times, I was completely unprepared for his nonstop, stream-of-consciousness warmth.”


The two guitarists bonded on the spot, with the elder statesman Cipollina praising Douglass’ melodic playing, and enthusiastically asking him about the amp he used for solos. Prairie Prince remembers, “I was a bit star-struck, recording with these veterans.” But beyond the resumes of the respective musicians, Prince was struck by the soulfulness of both Terry’s songwriting and the man himself. “Terry was a real talented guy, and a kind gentleman who treated me with such respect. I was impressed with his song writing and lyric content. His songs spoke of new loves, and finding a path of some kind of righteousness.”


The four tracks that comprise the first side of Terry Dolan take the singer-songwriter template that was wildly popular at the time and turn it on its head. Terry was able transcend his own experiences of walking the musical tightrope between folk and rock. The sound he and his musical conspirators generated was such a true synthesis of the genres that the seams that bound them were all but invisible.


Terry Dolan’s songs grab hold of the listener, sounding entirely fresh yet strangely familiar at the same time, as if we’ve been singing along for years. The point of departure is his voice: authoritative and supple, celebratory and yearning. It is the instrument that flows elegantly throughout the variety of textures on the album. From all-out rockers to the sweetest of ballads, Terry’s voice rides effortlessly with the music, coaxing it along, rather than merely accompanying it. The hours Terry had spent playing and singing his way up to these sessions can be felt viscerally in his singing, while The Pointer Sisters adorn his words with gorgeous layers of gospel-infused harmonies.  


Inspired by Terry’s inviting melodies and his hard-strumming, rhythm guitar playing, John Cipollina and Greg Douglass conjure a wealth of guitar tones, from languid, acoustic slide playing to raging, electric solos. The highlight is the epic, two-man guitar interplay on “Inlaws And Outlaws,” with Cipollina’s swooping, electric slide moans, playing perfectly off of Douglass’ searing riffage. The song is quintessential Terry Dolan music: infectious, burning, direct, and brimming with soul and passion. It begins innocently enough, with a baroque Nicky Hopkins piano introduction, before building into a churning anthem of personal liberation. With its exhilarating, near-proselytizing, post-hippie refrains—“Alive, alive, alive!” “Run, hide, be free!” and “Living, my life, free!”— it’s easy to imagine “Inlaws And Outlaws” blasting from FM radios everywhere (if only it had been released). If there’s any justice in the world, classic rock radio will simply pick up the song and start playing it, as if it had been with us all this time.


Terry Dolan also serves as a definitive showcase of the brilliance of Nicky Hopkins’ piano playing.  Hopkins’ wondrously splashy yet consummately tasteful runs are prominently out front. The expansive and generous musical landscapes of Terry’s songs elicited some of the most majestic and fiery playing of the high-flying pianists’ career. Hopkins was always sensitive and spot-on as an accompanist, but it’s his instinctive feel for the grand gesture that is on full display here, as he unleashes torrents of lightning-quick notes, and crafts stunningly melodic progressions of arpeggiated chords.


The sessions were bursting into full flower, and looked like they were on the verge of producing a groundbreaking album. Then in mid-February came a major setback when, after recording and mixing only four songs, Nicky Hopkins was called to Los Angeles by The Rolling Stones for overdubbing sessions on Exile On Main Street, to then be followed by a U.S. tour, and on to Jamaica to record Goat’s Head Soup. Terry’s album had ground to a halt, and seemed in danger of being abandoned. Vicky Cunningham weighs in: “It was good, but Warner Bros. was taking too long to come up with the money to finish the record, to do side two.” The loss of Hopkins seems to have compounded the label’s reluctance.

“Nicky was out with the Stones, making ungodly amounts of money,” Douglass says. “Terry had lost not only his producer, but also one of the chief bargaining chips that got him his deal in the first place. Terry’s album was the first thing Nicky had ever produced, and Terry became a victim of the fact that ‘Mr. Hopkins’ was now the hottest keyboard player in rock. Terry was beyond distraught. The label was pissed.”


While the four songs produced by Nicky Hopkins constituted only one-half of an album, the sessions had been singular—the chemistry spawning outstanding performances, and forging deep friendships between the musicians, resulting in lifelong collaborations amongst many of those involved. Although none of the participants could have predicted it at the time, something serendipitous had taken place, the result of which can be heard and felt in the music they laid down.


* * *


The unexpected departure of the producer/pianist loomed large, casting doubts about the album’s future. After months of inactivity, Terry was eager to come up with a solution that would please the label and keep the project moving forward. That solution came in the form of one Pete Sears, who, like Hopkins, was a musically virtuosic Englishman,  and who had also recently taken up residence in the Bay Area. A gifted multi-instrumentalist with excellent taste and instincts, Sears already had an impressive resume by the time he met Terry. Best known for playing bass and keyboards on Rod Stewart’s early  solo albums, he had been a U.K. session musician since 1964, a member of the mid-’60s, cult-psychedelic band Les Fleur de Lys, had recorded a seminal U.K. folk-rock album called Fly On Strange Wings with members of Pentangle, King Crimson and The Spencer Davis Group, and had recently played with Stoneground and Copperhead, two Bay Area rock bands.  

An agreement was reached, and Sears was onboard to produce the second side of Terry’s album. He would also play bass, keyboards and piano (as well as guitar on the album’s sole, non-Dolan original, J.J. Cale’s “Magnolia”). Terry and Pete got together to go over the songs Dolan had written for the album’s second side. Excited by the strong material, and Terry’s infectious enthusiasm, Sears began gathering a choice cast of players to bring the songs to life: guitarist Neal Schon, who had recently departed Santana and was on the cusp of cofounding Journey (with Prairie Prince, among others); David Weber, the drummer of John Cipollina’s hot, new band Copperhead; Greg Douglass, who had returned on guitar; Mic Gillette, from the renowned horn section of the Oakland funk band Tower Of Power, on French horn; and providing background vocals, Kathi McDonald, who was a member of Ike and Tina Turner’s Ikettes before replacing Janis Joplin in Big Brother & The Holding Company.


The sessions for Terry Dolan finally resumed in late-August 1972, at Pacific High Recorders. Greg Douglass recalls that the six-month break in recording had led to less-than-ideal conditions in the studio. The increased pressure to deliver a finished album to Warner Bros. resulted in a situation where, according to Douglass, “nothing was gelling as naturally as the first part of the album had.” Pete Sears had indeed stepped into challenging waters, however, it’s clear he navigated them with aplomb, drawing from his tasteful sonic palette for the album’s second side.

Sears, as was his goal, maintained the high-quality production levels set by his predecessor. The distinction being that Hopkins was more of a rock ’n’ roll traditionalist, while Sears was going for an “of-the-moment” sound. He achieved this by arranging tastefully contemporary rootsy settings, and juxtaposing them with the incendiary playing of 18-year-old Neal Schon, the primary guitarist on the album’s second side. Schon’s playing, with its pyrotechnical displays of virtuosity, signified a new direction in the sound of lead guitar. According to Greg Douglass, “A young guitarist, who was already rich, and working with Santana, sauntered in and quickly put me in my place.” Douglass continues, humbly, “He was simply a superior player, and Pete and Terry’s feet were to the fire, so they had to go with much of Neal’s work in place of mine. The kid was a shredder.”


Schon’s rapid-fire, stratospheric playing on “Purple An Blonde…?” and “Burgundy Blues” point straight towards the superstar status he would soon achieve with Journey. This was the incipient sound of the soaring,  ’70s arena-rock guitar-god, strategically placed by Sears within Terry’s earthy, earnest, folk-rock treasure.

Additionally, there is wonderfully organic vibe, exemplified by Sears’ deeply soulful organ and piano ensemble playing, and Mic Gillette’s lovely French horn on J.J. Cale’s reverie of a song, “Magnolia.” Sears’ masterful arrangement imparts a yearning poignancy to Terry’s music that allows the singer to reach deep into the depths of his soul.


In fact, it is no stretch to call Pete Sears the “secret weapon” of Terry Dolan’s unreleased debut album. His production brilliantly complements the tracks Nicky Hopkins had sheperded six months earlier. His piano playing is inspired throughout, and while not as pyrotechnically inclined as Nicky Hopkins (he does come pretty close at times), his playing on the slower songs has a tremendous range of depth and emotion. On bass, his playing is fluid, strong and meaty, especially on “Purple An Blonde…?” with its effortlessly funky intro. And Sears’ organ playing is simply stunning: soulful, melodic, rippling, breathtaking. He also co-wrote the album’s final track “To Be For You,” with Terry.


* * *


By September 1972, the album was finished and Warner’s assigned it a catalog number: BS 2669. They designed front and back cover art (using legendary San Francisco rock photographer Herb Greene), LP labels, and made test pressings. The publicity department worked up a two-and-a-half page Terry Dolan bio, commissioned a Warner Bros. PR photo shoot of Terry (Herb Greene, again), and a full-page article on the album was featured in Warner Bros. hip monthly radio and retail trade magazine, Circular. The record was slated for a February 1973 release. As Angie recalls, “The reality of the album hit when Terry and I went to Herb Greene, a renowned rock photographer, who took pictures for the album cover. We were so thrilled to have a sense of financial security, and Terry was finally rewarded for paying his dues as an artist.”


And then, the unthinkable happened: Terry Dolan’s debut album was cancelled by Warner Bros., just two months before its scheduled release date, and Terry was summarily dropped from the label. There has been a great deal of speculation over the last 43 years, as to exactly what happened, and still there is no definitive answer. Even by the notoriously capricious nature of the music industry, Warner Bros.’ last-minute cancellation of the Terry Dolan album seems unusually callous, especially in light of its undeniable artistic caliber, and all the resources they had put into its production. “Many times over the years, I wondered what happened to those sessions,” says a puzzled Prairie Prince. Greg Douglass, the man who took Terry electric, posits, “Without Nicky Hopkins’ complete participation, Warner’s deemed the album not commercially viable, and decided not to release it.” Bassist David Hayes, a Bay Area stalwart, best known for his work with Van Morrison, has a different take on the matter. “I first met Terry when he had just been dropped,” he says. “It had nothing to do with his music. It was a purge. Dozens of artists were dumped.” But of course, in the end it’s all just speculation—time waits for no one, trends come and go, and we’re left holding a curiously potent historical artifact that resonates with unfulfilled potential and the passion and poetry of the musicians that created it.


Adding insult to injury, Warner Bros. failed to personally inform Terry of their decision. “They didn’t even bother to tell me. I found out after making some inquiries on my own,” Terry told an interviewer in 2006. Angie adds, “When we found out the album was being shelved, Terry was devastated, and yet he was determined to continue booking gigs. The whole ordeal changed our lives forever because we struggled to keep the faith.” Terry’s brush with major label validation left him badly shaken. “His world collapsed completely,” Douglass says. “Terry was inconsolable, and I did not hear from him for a very long time.”


* * *


Terry eventually rallied, channeling his passion and drawing upon his deep friendships and connections in the music scene to form an ongoing musical phenomenon: Terry & The Pirates. The Pirates became a nexus for Bay Area musicians, a fluid and enduring community of kindred musical spirits. There were no grand ambitions, no pretense of rock stardom, just the love of music and the joy that comes from playing with longtime friends. It was as though Terry was preserving the dying embers that warmed those earlier, magical sessions.

“Once Terry got over licking his wounds from being dropped by Warner’s, he reached out to me, and we became very close once again,” says Douglass. “Somehow, for the life of me, I can’t remember how, I ended up in his basement with Cipollina and the Copperhead rhythm section, plowing through a number of tunes. The friendships and contacts made during the Wally Heider’s sessions morphed into one of the most fun and fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved with, Terry & The Pirates. John Cipollina and I were paired on guitar, and our disparate styles gelled into something completely different, a kind of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts on acid.” Terry & The Pirates garnered a reputation for playing with absolute conviction, as if every song were an encore. Audiences were treated to some of the best, gut-level, hard driving, free-form rock music at every gig. The band, led by Terry’s wild-man guitar strumming and powerhouse singing, rocked with a reckless abandon, leaving everything on the stage at the end of the night.


Terry & The Pirates would continue, in one form or another, from June 1973 until the tragic passing of John Cipollina, who was only 45 years old, on May 29, 1989. The bonds that had formed so profoundly on recording sessions that had taken place almost 20 years earlier came into sharp focus. Nicky Hopkins was in Australia, touring with Art Garfunkel, when he heard the sad news of Cipollina’s death. He dropped everything and rushed to San Francisco so he could play with Terry & The Pirates in a tribute concert for his fallen friend and collaborator. John Cipollina’s sister Antonia wasn’t surprised by Hopkins’ mad dash around the globe. “He was just in time to go out on stage and, after not being with these guys for years, it was as if he’d been playing with Terry all along.”


There was a magical, alluring energy that percolated through the musicians who played on Terry’s unreleased album, an energy that only grew stronger over the years. His enthusiasm, passion, humor, and generous, affirming vision touched all who knew him. Over the course of 40 years, Terry brought together a large and disparate group of world-class musicians, time and time again—whether they were playing with Terry, or on each other’s countless projects. Bands had been formed, deep friendships established and endured, and countless hours of joyful music had been played. “See what your love can do,” Terry Dolan sang, and he lived by those words, giving his love freely and watching it ripple outwards and then back again. “Terry was rich in friends,” notes Vicki Cunningham. “He had more friends than anybody I knew.”


Terry took some time off after John Cipollina’s passing. For nearly 20 years, John and Terry had not only been the closest of friends, they’d made music together on an almost continual basis: on stage, in the studio, or just sitting around on one of their front porches. Entering the ’90s, Terry began assembling various lineups of old and new Pirates alike for the occasional gig. For the “old Pirates,” who were getting the chance to play with one another again for the first time in years, it felt like no time at all had passed since the last gig. Playing in Terry & The Pirates was like that.


David Hayes (Van Morrison’s longest-serving bass player) played his first show with Terry & The Pirates at Winterland on February 7, 1975. “The songs and musicians were great, so I stuck with The Pirates for the next 14 years!” he says. “Terry was an excellent songwriter, but had few organizational skills, so we had total freedom to arrange the songs the way we wanted,” Hayes continues. “It would never have gone on for all those years if it hadn’t been for Terry. He wrote the songs and held it all together. He wrote good vehicles for all of us to play on, so when I was off the road with Van I played with them. Nicky [Hopkins] was allowed to float in and out more than anybody, and we were always honored to have him. When he was coming in, we all just moved over, gave him space, and off he went.”


Although the Pirates did once spend 72 hours in Europe (playing three shows in December 1982, including the renowned, live TV concert Rockpalast), they rarely ventured further from San Francisco than San Jose. And that was just fine, as Terry & The Pirates had become a beloved fixture of the Bay Area music scene. Their evolving and revolving lineup comprised a virtual “Who’s Who” of the San Francisco music community. Relix magazine proclaimed, “Terry & The Pirates are perhaps San Francisco’s best kept secret.” David Hayes takes the sentiment one step further, maintaining that Terry & The Pirates were “the most underground of the underground bands ever to come out of San Francisco.”


On January 15, 2012, Terry Dolan passed away due to heart failure. His family, friends, fellow musicians and fans were devastated. After the initial shock wore off, Terry’s longtime friend and manager of close to 30 years, Mike Somavilla, organized a memorial tribute concert for Terry, featuring more than 35 musicians playing and singing his songs, in honor of the man and his legacy. There was an abundance of love and musical magic on stage and in the air that night. From his firebrand, acoustic guitar-wielding shows of the ’60s, to the excitement surrounding his wildly popular first demos, and the disappointment of the cancelled album, through the ascendance of Terry & The Pirates and their decades of legendarily mind-blowing performances, Terry Dolan had become such a fundamental a part of the Bay Area music scene, that with the end of the night, came the end of an era that reached back more than 45 years.


“I really got a taste of how great a songwriter Terry was when I performed at his memorial concert,” Douglass reflects. “I got to hear the Dolan catalog interpreted by a number of varied performers, and it was a real eye-opener. The songs were little gems, each and every one, and it was an epiphany to realize I’d been present at their gestation. I can only hope that I played okay on these. If there is an afterlife, I’m sure Mr. Dolan won’t be shy about letting me know if I screwed up in that regard. We’ll have a big fight, won’t talk for a year, and then make up and create some bitchin’ music. Actually, that would be a cool concept of heaven. I’d better start behaving!”


That Warner Bros. chose not to release Terry Dolan is beyond puzzling. That we can hear it now, 43 years after its intended unveiling, is cause for celebration. With this first-time-ever release of Terry Dolan’s debut album, the world can finally hear how those early sessions—and the friendships, collaborations, and glorious hours of music they spawned over the years—still echo across the ages. “Those first sessions changed my entire professional career trajectory,” asserts Greg Douglass, who, during the recordings, met Lonnie Turner, the bassist with whom he would later write “Jungle Love.” First played in Terry & The Pirates live repertoire, it became a huge hit when they recorded it in The Steve Miller Band.


“This record was the start of the Pirates’ journey,” states David Hayes. And Greg Douglass, who was there from the beginning, playing beside Terry Dolan since the late-1960s, has sage words for anyone experiencing this musical revelation for the first time: “For those of you about to dive in these sonic waters, listen for the heart and humanity. It’s there in every note. Buried treasure, unearthed many decades later.”

                                —High Moon Records