Homeless Brother

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
After taking an album off as a songwriter with the all-covers collection Playin' Favourites in 1973, Don McLean returned to providing most of the compositions on his fifth LP Homeless Brother in 1974. It was an ambitious work, which he signaled by a sleeve note on the back cover in which he described "the vision of this album...growing within...." That vision, or concept, seemed to be embodied in the title and corresponding album cover, a painting of a hobo inside a boxcar. And, indeed, in song after song, notably the title track, which found McLean being accompanied by his mentor, Pete Seeger, on background vocals, there were references to hoboes and hoboing. The ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
After taking an album off as a songwriter with the all-covers collection Playin' Favourites in 1973, Don McLean returned to providing most of the compositions on his fifth LP Homeless Brother in 1974. It was an ambitious work, which he signaled by a sleeve note on the back cover in which he described "the vision of this album...growing within...." That vision, or concept, seemed to be embodied in the title and corresponding album cover, a painting of a hobo inside a boxcar. And, indeed, in song after song, notably the title track, which found McLean being accompanied by his mentor, Pete Seeger, on background vocals, there were references to hoboes and hoboing. The record was dedicated to Lee Hays, Seeger's partner in the Weavers. But there was also an entirely different concept at work on Homeless Brother, one that to some extent contradicted the hobo theme. That concept was also suggested in the original packaging, which was a glossy gatefold LP cover, the actual album sleeve containing both the lyrics and lengthy lists of high-priced studio musicians including horn and string sections working at the behest of producer Joel Dorn. All this suggested a major recording effort and a big release with the big sales such a release was intended to garner. And, indeed, many of the tracks were creamy pop productions that seemed to have little in common with the hobo theme. Certainly, much of the music would have confused a buyer who picked up the album based on the title and cover painting and expected a modern version of a topical folk album. On the other hand, the audience that might have been interested in the smooth soft-rock pop music inside probably would have been put off by the title and cover. That may help explain the album's curious commercial fate. United Artists Records released the attractive love song "La La Love You" as a single, but failed to break it, and the LP foundered on the charts. Then, months later, a second single, the infectious 1930s-styled "Wonderful Baby" a song written for Fred Astaire, who recorded it, with some deceptively childlike lyrics that turned out to be somewhat caustic upon close examination was put out on 45 and proceeded to top the Billboard easy listening chart, much too late to do any good to the album on which it originated.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/1/1996
  • Label: Bgo - Beat Goes On
  • EAN: 5017261202475
  • Catalog Number: 247
  • Sales rank: 46,046

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Don McLean Primary Artist, Banjo, Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocals
Pete Seeger Vocals, Background Vocals
William Eaton Conductor
Joe Brown Trumpet
The Persuasions Vocals
Seldon Powell Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Joe Wilder Trumpet
Marlene VerPlanck Vocals, Background Vocals
Al Brown Viola
Ralph MacDonald Percussion
Kenny Vance Background Vocals
Dave Carey Percussion
David Nadien Violin
George Duvivier Bass
Yusef Lateef Flute
Steven Soles Vocals, Background Vocals
Ned Albright Vocals, Background Vocals
Sanford Allen Violin
Ray Alonge Horn, French Horn
George Barrow Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Garnett Brown Trombone
James Buffington Tuba, Horn, French Horn
Cissy Houston Vocals, Background Vocals
Selwart Clarke Viola
Harry Cykman Violin
Willie C. Daniels Vocals
Joel Dorn Vocals, Background Vocals
Jonathan Dorn Tuba
Max Ellen Violin
Charles Fawlkes Saxophone
Charlie Fowlkes Baritone Saxophone
Emanuel Green Violin
Diana Halprin Violin
Harry Lookofsky Violin
Jimmy Hayes Percussion, Vocals
Julius Held Violin
Norma Holmes Vocals, Background Vocals
Willis "Gator" Jackson Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Arthur Jenkins Keyboards
Kathryn Kienke Violin
Walter King Wind
Harold Kohon Violin
Jerry Lawson Percussion, Vocals
Charles Libove Violin
Guy Lumia Violin
Joseph Malignaggi Violin
George Marge Flute, Oboe, Wind
Arlene Martell Vocals, Background Vocals
Hugh McCracken Guitar
Charles McCracken Cello
Helene Miles Vocals, Background Vocals
Daniel Moore Trumpet
Kermit Moore Cello
Linda November Vocals, Background Vocals
Gene Orloff Strings, Violin
Max Pollikoff Violin
Matthew Raimondi Violin
Herbert Rhoad Percussion, Vocals
George Ricci Cello
Joseph Russell Vocals
Julius Schachter Violin
Billy Slapin Clarinet, Flute, Wind
Andrew Smith Drums
David Spinozza Guitar
Ronelle Stafford Vocals, Background Vocals
Richard Tee Keyboards
Jerry Teiffer Background Vocals, Human Whistle
Brooks Tillotson Horn, French Horn
Deirdre Tuck Corley Vocals
Willie Weeks Bass
Avram Weiss Violin
Charles Williams Saxophone, Alto Saxophone
Danny Moore Trumpet
Renelie Stafford Background Vocals
Emanuel Vardi Viola
Deidre Tuck Background Vocals
Jimmy Haynes Vocals
Sean Paul Powell Tenor Saxophone
Peter Gordon Horn, French Horn
Wally King Bassoon
Technical Credits
Jack Kerouac Author
William Eaton Arranger
George Harrison Composer
Don McLean Liner Notes
Kenny Vance Contributor
Yusef Lateef Contributor
Joel Dorn Producer, Liner Notes
Joe Ferla Engineer
Bob Liftin Engineer, Remixing
George Piros Mastering
Herb Gart Management
John Tobler Liner Notes
Tom Clack Sound Effects
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