“Dear Joy”

“Dear Joy” is the 10th song (5th song on side 2) from Strawberry Alarm Clock‘s 1969 LP Good Morning Starshine. The song is firmly in the classic SAC mold: wistful and adroit, with a decided denseness to the arrangement that is tempered by some pleasant, psychedelic asides, all in a cheerful little tune tinged with subtle melancholy.

As a gentle song from singer Jim Pitman, “Dear Joy” joins “Write Your Name In Gold” as an impressive counterpoint to the writer’s other compositions like his album-opening “Me And The Township” and “Off Ramp Road Tramp” (a stomper written with the rest of the band). Much has been made in ensuing years about Pitman’s inapposite musical style, but “Dear Joy” could have been on almost any of the Clock’s earlier releases. One must, of course, give considerable credit for this to the band’s actual long-term members, who had developed a musical synergy they could lend to almost any material. (Almost — see the admittedly misguided “Good Morning Starshine” to see how the band handled material they had no real interest in.)

The simple chord sequence that opens the song and lasts throughout most of it, “Dear Joy” has some slight similarities with the previous album‘s “Barefoot In Baltimore”; with its groovy little shika-shika beat though, the track resembles Arthur Lee’s “I Still Wonder” more than anything else — with maybe a little “The Girl From Ipanema” thrown into the melody just for fun. “Dear Joy” is catchy and almost memorable, and there is some pathos to be uncovered by the tuned-in listener.

Appears on

LP: Good Morning Starshine (1969)
LP: Changes (1971 compilation)

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