John Hartford’s Pop 45 + Strings

John Hartford‘s strings version of Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings,” which kicks off the Jud soundtrack LP:  Is it true, as the person who posted this YouTube video states, that this 45 was “never released”?

“One Too Many Mornings”     John Hartford     1971

John Hartford backed by Mason Proffit:

  • John Hartford:  Vocals
  • Terry Talbot: Acoustic Guitar & Backing Vocals
  • John Michael Talbot:  Guitar
  • Al Perkins:  Pedal Steel
  • Tim Ayers:  Bass
  • Art Nash:  Drums

[Al Perkins, not to be confused with Muscle Shoals guitarist, Wayne Perkins, who was enlisted by the Chris Blackwell Organisation to help “sweeten up” three of the tracks on the 1973 debut album by the original Wailers (recently profiled)].

As it turns out, Hartford “doesn’t seem to play a lick, actually” on “One Too Many Mornings,” cheekily observes YouTube contributor been there.

Billboard, in its May 29, 1971 edition, would praise this “folk rhythm ballad” as part of its “Special Merit Spotlight” that features “new singles deserving special attention of programmers and dealers” (opposite a full-page promotional ad for Karen Dalton’s album, In My Own Time):

From the soundtrack of the film ‘Jud,’ Hartford has a strong commercial reading of the Bob Dylan folk rhythm ballad with much chart potential.

The following week’s June 5, 1971 edition would likewise find the Jud soundtrack album included in Billboard‘s “Special Merit Picks“.

Promo/DJ 45

Ampex did issue a promotional/DJ 45, but alas, there appears to have been no single release for the Hartford-sung/Phillips-arranged “One Too Many Mornings” in the US …  However, further probing of Discogs reveals that Ampex apparently green-lighted a single release in Canada!

Canadian single release

Reading Between the Grooves points out this unintended bit of hilarity about the (non) single’s flip side:

The single featuring Hartford didn’t even list an artist for its flip of “Solitary Sanctuary,” which was actually performed by Alan Brackett, John Merrill, and Barbara Robinson.  Another version of the same song was the last cut on the LP and was performed by the American Breed. 

Whether you try to obtain this recording via the movie soundtrack or either of the Ampex 45s:  not an easy row to hoe.  But wait, good news:  “One Too Many Mornings” would end up, fittingly, as a final “bonus” track on 2003’s pairing of two Hartford albums — 1970’s Iron Mountain Depot and 1971’s previously unreleased Radio John — on one compact disc (that also comes with a DVD of a live studio performance of John Hartford and Iron Mountain Depot on February 24, 1970).

The Most Literal Cover Version Ever

I remember having a good laugh the first time I listened to Stu Phillips’ ever-so-sleepy arrangement of the Kinks’ classic, “Tired of Waiting for You”:

The original Kinks hit was recorded in late 1964 and released January 1965 in the UK (one month later in the US).  Stu Phillips, interestingly, arranged and recorded his version just three months later on May 21st.  I am struck by the dichotomy between the swiftness of his response and the torpor of his results:

This “torp pop” approach will be re-examined in Zero to 180’s next piece on The Sandpipers.

Stu Phillips

Could this sort of “languid pop” have set the stage for future indie subgenre, “slowcore“?