Heath Common: The Dreams Of Miss Dee – album review
He’s been labelled as being “what Jack Kerouac would have sounded like if he came from Manchester”, which is pretty spot on really bearing in mind the unusual and off-kilter song cycle which makes up ‘The Dream Of Miss Dee’.
With a background of working alongside and soaking up the influence of the 1980’s New York ‘art rock’ scene and forming a duo with the Thin Man (?) before going their separate ways led him to continue to work with a diversity of artists. All of whom will have had their influence in Heath’s development in the Beat Movement area which has been the perfect showcase for his writings and poetry.
In fact, the album is pretty much a series of poems and contemplations set to music, some of which work well as standalone songs, with all manner of unusual links and sound bites (Dream Bite 1-7) sandwiched between the tracks. For some it may be hard work to grasp what’s on offer and be classed as another piece of arty pretentiousness. Maybe the ability to grasp the level of art and originality on display is a bridge too far for some, yet at a much more basic level and cutting out some of the filler, there are some quite nice songs here. Using the Gary Snyden’s poem as the lyric for ‘Why Do Truck Drivers Rise Earlier Than The Students Of Zen’ is a typical amalgamation of the combination of music and poetry which take the project beyond basic song writing, while something like the summery ‘Manchester Summertime’, name-checking all sorts of local landmarks, works simply as an easy listening pop song.
Good luck if you want to dig deep and decipher the ‘real’ meanings and whatever philosophy lies behind the dreams of the mysterious Miss Dee, taking in what Heath calls “an Odyssey which looks back and then steps forward at one and the same time” or simply enjoy some of the pleasant songs at your own level.