A long kept secret of lost classics, John Wonderling’s debut LP was ill fated from the start, despite boasting a deep bench of session players. Wonderling made his mark as the writer of “Midway Down,” a song made famous by The Creation. Though, The Creation don’t always find themselves in constant conversation these days either (see their much needed retrospective on Numero this year) they raised Wonderling’s profile at the time and he released a single version of “Midway Down” backed with “Man Of Straw”. What truly halted Wonderling’s momentum was taking the next five years to craft Day Breaks, an album of subtle beauty, but slightly faded psychedelic pop for its release in 1973.
The single was the last independent release on Loma Records, which was then absorbed into Warner Brothers. His album would wind up on Paramount. The shift to major label should have seemed like a blessing, but the label simply didn’t know what to do with Wonderling. He’d languish and most of the records printed would disappear, with as few as 10 copies being reportedly making their way to distribution. As such this has become a pricey collector’s property. The record shouldn’t have been as hard a sell as it’s often described. Though songs like “Man Of Straw” seem a bit past the mark, the rest of the album delves into the kind of wistful ballads that wound up making legends (albeit not always in their time) of artists from Nick Drake to Gene Clark.
Wonderling, too should be higher up the ranks of lost songwriters and it seems that this reissue from Flashback is aiming to make that so. Though only on CD for now, the new issue rounds up the entirety of Day Breaks along with the A and B-side versions of “Midway Down” and “Man Of Straw” with a couple of unreleased demos. This is an all too brief, but truly wonderful album finding a new life.
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