Jim Sullivan – If The Evening Were Dawn

Light In The Attic has done much to preserve the legacy of Jim Sullivan. The artist has a storied past. He hung with a counterculture crowd – had a bit part in Easy Rider, spent time crawling bars with Harry Dean Stanton and disappeared from mysterious circumstances in New Mexico in 1975. He recorded two albums, though neither did well to carry him forward at the time. His debut was a haunted folk record dotted with extra-terrestrials, lonesome nights, and endless stretches of road. It featured the legendary Wrecking Crew as his backing band. His second, eponymous album was picked up by Playboy’s fledgling record label but their inept promotion mechanisms let it down. That along with the connotations associated with Playboy at the time scared off quite a few listeners who would have sunk deep into its mahogany rich grooves and evening air. It stands as a true shame, because both albums are well worth a listen. LITA is thankfully bringing both of these record back to life, but they’ve included on more bit for good measure.

The collection of songs on If The Evening Were Dawn strips away any backing band that fleshed out Jim’s songs. There’s no embellishment, just the barest of essentials and it casts his songs in a spare, but blissfully austere light. The album is culled from a 1969 session with just Sullivan alone, giving some inklings of his work around L.A. bars at the time. It captures exactly what’s magic about Sullivan. His voice is weathered but hopeful. There’s still that lonesome resolve in his songs, but they’re given an unfussed elegance with this cap on his career. There’s crossover between this and the other two albums, but the collection works well as neither a live trinket or a scratch demo. The songs feel like they take on a new life here and this comes into its own as Sullvan’s final album – part retrospective, part document of a moment in time that may have dispersed like smoke from the end of an unattended cigarette were it not for the forgiving souls at LITA. This is an essential companion piece for any fan of Sullivan’s works, and a damn fine inroads for the uninitiated.



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