Voila, an American Dream – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

I had forgotten this song existed for decades. When I heard it, it was instantly recognizable, but I had to look up who sang it. An American Dream was released by the Dirt Band in 1979 and reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1980. The singer dreams about getting out of Augusta, Georgia on a Jamaican vacation, but is willing to settle for a trip to Coconut Grove in Florida. That’s Linda Ronstadt helping out on the vocals.

The Dirt Band was previously and subsequently known as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Back in 1972, they had released the triple album – yes, three whole LPs – Will the Circle Be Unbroken, in which they sang traditional songs with several old-timey country and bluegrass musicians, including Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, and Mother Maybelle Carter.

Back to An American Dream: This song was written by Rodney Crowell and released on his 1978 album with its original title, Voila, an American Dream. That album, which was not particularly successful, also contained his song Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight which was later covered by Emmylou Harris and, more recently, Shovels & Rope.

1970s London Archaeologist Culture

Archaeologists on a tea break in London, 1974. Source: Hobley’s Heroes.

Hobley’s Heroes is an online archive that shows something of life as an archaeologist digging in London in the 1970s and 1980s, including dig site photos and an fanzine-like comic/workplace newsletter. Brian Hobley, Chief Urban Archaeologist, was their boss. It’s a fascinating repository that includes some far out field fashion and a glossary of the digger’s argot (“If in doubt, rip it out” was in use at least as early as 1974).

Hobley’s Heroes, Issue 1. 1975. Source: Hobley’s Heroes

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