San Francisco legend Terry Dolan's previously unreleased 1972 Warner Bros. debut is out on November 25th. This lost gem is finally getting its due with a deluxe LP & CD release. Pre-order now!
Terry Dolan — featuring an all star cast: Nicky Hopkins (The Rolling Stones, The Kinks), John Cipollina (Quicksilver Messenger Service), Lonnie Turner (The Steve Miller Band) and Neal Schon (Santana, Journey) — is the missing link between the frenetic, guitar-driven sound of the San Francisco ballroom scene, and the increasingly expansive West Coast singer-songwriters. With its epic guitar duels intertwining with driving piano and organ, it anticipated the jam band genre by twenty years. The album captures the dual nature of Terry himself, an East Coast folkie with a penchant for soul-stirring rock ’n’ roll. Amazingly, the chemistry captured on the album’s eight indelible tracks, and six bonus tracks, have never seen the light of day, until now.
Terry Dolan is a story in two parts, and about two producers; one for each side of this unreleased masterpiece:
Side A: Based on the strength of a demo for his song “Inlaws & Outlaws,” Terry Dolan was offered a major record deal with Warner Bros. in 1971. Dolan tapped renowned British session pianist Nicky Hopkins to produce and play keyboards. Together, they put together a band of the “Who’s Who” of the San Francisco music community, Prairie Prince of The Tubes played drums with Lonnie Turner playing bass, Greg Douglass (Steve Miller Band) and John Cipollina shared guitar duties, with The Pointer Sisters adding gospel-tinged backing harmonies. The ensuing sessions created the mix of folk-infused, high-octane rock that became the Terry Dolan sound, but with only four of the album’s eight songs tracked and mixed, Nicky Hopkins was called on tour by The Rolling Stones, and Dolan was forced to regroup.
Side B: The sudden departure of the producer Nicky Hopkins was a major setback, but Dolan found a solution in the form of Pete Sears, another virtuosic Englishman who’s numerous credits included Rod Stewart’s early solo albums. Sears produced the album’s second side and brought on guitarist Neal Schon, who would soon co-found Journey, and drummer David Weber. Greg Douglass returned on guitar. Sears shepherded the final four tracks and arranged the album into a cohesive and dynamic release.
By September 1972, the album was completed and Warner’s commissioned artwork and assigned it a catalog number: BS 2669. The record was slated for a February 1973 release, however — with no explanation ever provided — just two months before it was to hit the record racks of the world, Terry Dolan’s debut was cancelled, and he was dropped by the label.
43 years later, with this first-time-ever release of Terry Dolan’s debut album, the world can finally hear how these early sessions—and the friendships, collaborations, and glorious hours of music they spawned over the years—still echo across the ages.