Sunday, August 7, 2011

Forgotten Movie Songs #27: "Drifting and Dreaming of You" from WHITE LINE FEVER


I finally got to watch Jonathan Kaplan's 1975 film White Line Fever again, for the first time since I was a kid watching it at the drive-in. It's an exacting, often exciting blue-collar drama from a terrific director who's made one of my top films of all time, 1979's Over The Edge. At the end of Over the Edge, we're treated to an unusually gentle tune--a cover of The Five Stairsteps' "Ooh Child," sung by one Valerie Carter. Even though it wasn't the filmmaker's first choice for a closing song, I always felt it worked well with the wistful ending to that hard-as-nails movie. And I always wondered how they decided upon Valerie Carter as the artist to vocalize the final moments to a film that has such a rock-oriented source music soundtrack with contrasting contributions from acts like The Ramones, Cheap Trick, and Van Halen. But now I know...


White Line Fever begins with a lovely country song, impeccably sung by Miss Carter and written, I assume, by the film's composer David Nichtern (no song credits are attributed in the film's opening). I find I almost like the song better than I like the movie, which is saying a lot (as with most of Kaplan's films, like the Isaac Hayes vehicle Truck Turner and his 1983 Shirley Muldowney biopic Heart Like A Wheel, it is intelligent but it never sacrifices that quality to entertainment). "Drifting and Dreaming of You" is a lazily rambling tune, played over star Jan Michael Vincent's homecoming (from Vietnam, I suppose), and this means the song has a structure that doesn't become quite clear until it's over. Still, throughout, Carter's vocals are superb--lilting, longing and superb.

The song is called "Drifting and Dreaming of You." It is sung by Valerie Carter. The music and lyrics are presumably by David Nichtern.

Presumably, by the stupid Internet rules, this movie is hard to see.  But HERE you can see the film again...continue as free user, click to play, and after the short prologue, the song appears around 2 minutes in.  It's definitely worth the wait, and the movie is superb, too. (BTW, is this movie being suppressed because of the early gun talk, and because of the film's anti-authoritarian stance?  I think that is supremely unfair.  It's a wonderful film.)



Long, lonely years here without you
Long years to call out your name
Wandered alone through the desert
Lord, how I prayed for the rain
Long years and finally it came
Darling, it's so good to hold you again

Fear was my constant companion
Holding me sleepless each night
Memories danced in the shadows
Danced by the first rays of light
But how can you hold a shadow tight
I wanted to hold you with all of my might

Friends and neighbors came to call
And found me staring at your picture on the wall
They would talk to me like old friends do
But I was drifting and dreaming of you

(Humming - Instrumental Break)

Darling, it's so good to hold you again

Friends and neighbors came to call
And found me staring at your picture on the wall
They would talk to me like old friends do
But I was drifting and dreaming of you

But I was drifting and dreaming of you

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does Tori Amos "Trouble's Lament" sound like it was inspired by "Drifting and Dreaming of You"

Mark Taylor said...

Nice quality rip of the song on youtube:
https://youtu.be/AvcPw0bZ5No