September 16, 2004

the dream world of Dion McGregor

Dion McGregor (1922-1994) was the world's greatest somniloquist. Whereas most sleeptalking consists of a few mumbled words or phrases, McGregor produced full-fledged narrations of his dreams. He not only talked in his sleep: he shouted, laughed, crooned, and screamed (actually the screaming was the wake-up stimulus). We know about him today because his roommate and songwriting partner, Mike Barr, spent several years taping these early-morning outbursts. In 1964 they parlayed these curiousities into a record and a book of transcriptions. More recently, two cds of McGregor's dreams have become available: 1999's Dion McGregor Dreams Again (Tzadik 7404) and the just-released Further Somniloquies of Dion McGregor (Torpor Vigil TVI-CD03). Here's a transcribed sample of a cut from the latter cd, entitled "Food Roulette":
Turn it around, turn it around. Spin that lazy susan and everybody take what they want off it. Hurry! Hurry! Grab it grab it grab it grab it grab it! We're playing food roulette! Food roulette! Yes, there's a poisoned eclair on there. We have a poisoned eclair on there and somebody's gonna get it. Now.... Spin it spin it spin it. We don't know which one is the poisoned eclair! There are a hundred and thirty on there.

. . . .

I'll go first - WHEE! - I've got my eclair. Ha oo hee ha. Okay. Everybo-- next person, get your eclair. Grab it quick before it stops. Before it stops spi-- Oh, don't take two! Greedy thing, what do you want to die? You want to die?

. . . .

No, you can't all play, you can't all pla -- look at that line. It stretches way down the road, way down the road. People are so adventurous. Oh, people are adventurous now, I mean to tell you. Hurry up! Get in and get your poisoned eclair! Poisoned eclair! Take your chances.
As producer Steve Venright says, "If you listen to just one cd this year by an eloquently deranged sleeptalker who's got a thing for mangoes, make sure you listen to The Further Somniloquies of Dion McGregor!"