The Weirdest Album From 1964 Was From A Sleep-Talking Lyricist

There are regular ol' spoken word albums, and then there's The Dream World of Dion McGregor. This curiosity, distributed by Decca Records in 1964, is a recording of the songwriter talking in his sleep, ostensibly narrating aloud whatever strange nighttime visions running through his brain.

It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, an extremely weird listen through someone's shut-eye rambles. McGregor was a struggling lyricist in the hours he was awake, and—apparently—an incredibly prolific storyteller when he was not. His creative partner, composer Michael Barr, decided to document the strange tales and, over the course of almost a decade, got audio of McGregor doing his snoozy thang.


Though the vinyl itself was a bit of a bomb, master artist of the offbeat Edward Gorey liked it so much that he illustrated an entire book based on the transcribed text. In some ways, this seems like a perfect medium for McGregor's thoughts, which are like a million short fictions shmooshed into a super surreal, stream-of-subconsciousness A- and B-side. I could imagine an entire collection of writers all taking bits and pieces of these yarns and spinning them into a bizarro anthology.

And while it's easy to think "HOAX!!," I want to believe that these guys were on the level. Besides, even if they're not, this is out-there enough to warrant a high-five for subversive effort. And hey: Earlier this year, a (successful) Kickstarter campaign was launched to bring the rare, unreleased recordings to a broader audience on this, its 50th anniversary, and Mental Floss just published a short profile, so there's clearly still interest in the dude and his nocturnal ideas.


I had the whole thing playing in the background this afternoon and there's something soothing about his voice, even if you're not really following along. I could see it as something I'd put on quietly as I was trying to doze off myself, beginning what would undoubtedly be a meta chain reaction of dreams influencing dreams. [Mental Floss; Kickstarter; Wikipedia]

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