♫ Drift Away ♫

I’ve played this one only once, back in March 2020, but for some reason it popped into my head tonight.  Last time I played it, our friend John Howell suggested a third version that is also good, so I’ve included the one by Uncle Cracker (whom I had never heard of until I first researched the song!) as well as the ones by Dobie Gray and Michael Bolton.  I hope you find one of them to your liking!


Earlier tonight as I was answering comments, I came across one by Roger where he just happened to say, “I’m gonna drift away …” and that was all it took to bring this song front and center in my head, and for the rest of the evening, the song was there, but for the life of me I could not remember the artist!  And as is often the case, Google helped me out!  Although the first hit it gave me was a version by an artist named “Uncle Kracker”, of whom I’ve never heard.

This song, written by Mentor Williams, was first released by John Henry Kurtz on his 1972 album Reunion.  Now, I’ve never heard of John Henry Kurtz who is listed as a “swamp rock” singer … not sure what that is, but it sounds somewhat less than endearing.

It was later given to soul singer Dobie Gray for whom it became a surprise international hit; and the best known version. In 1973 the song became Dobie Gray’s biggest hit, peaking at #5 in the U.S.  Gray’s version was quite popular on this side of the pond, but across the pond, they preferred the Michael Bolton version released in 1992.  I like both almost equally, but I suppose if you force me to choose, I would pick Dobie Gray’s.

This song was not only a commercial breakthrough for Mentor Williams, but also a breakthrough as a recording project. He explained …

“I think one of the hardest things for me to learn about songwriting was to really expose my feelings and weaknesses and to write personal, emotional things. As soon as I started doing that, I realized other people were relating to my songs. You can study how to write and spend a lot of time writing, but without this emotional content in a song, it’s just not there. ‘Drift Away’ was a big breakthrough for me. It was a song where it suddenly was okay for me to write about being hurt and let people know that I had been hurt and I wasn’t afraid to expose my feelings.”

This has been featured in several movies, including the 1988 comedy Heartbreak Hotel (starring David Keith as Elvis Presley), the 2003 drama Wonderland (starring Val Kilmer), and 2006 sports biopic Invincible (starring Mark Wahlberg). It was also used on The Office (US), in the 2007 episode Product Recall.

Drift Away
Dobie Gray

Day after day I’m more confused
Yet I look for the light in the pouring rain
You know that’s a game that I hate to lose
I’m feelin’ the strain, ain’t it a shame

Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Beginning to think that I’m wastin’ time
I don’t understand the things I do
The world outside looks so unkind
So I’m countin’ on you to carry me through

Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

And when my mind is free
You know a melody can move me
And when I’m feelin’ blue
The guitar’s comin’ through to soothe me
Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me
I want you to know I believe in your song
Rhythm and rhyme and harmony
You help me along makin’ me strong

Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Hey, hey, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Na na na, won’t ya, won’t ya take me
Oh oh, take me

Won’t find
Early in the morning, they wanna take me
Come on and free my soul na na and drift away

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Mentor R. Williams
Drift Away lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

24 thoughts on “♫ Drift Away ♫

  1. Oh the irony. I used that comment because……………….. guess what song was going through my head when I wrote it? 😃

    (PS- Not so much the sentiment, but in the same vein of slow ‘n steady and since you are a fan of Rod Stewart Jill – Have you heard ‘Sweet Lady Mary’ off of the 1970 Faces Album – ‘Long Player’?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was 99% certain that would be your favourite! (I cheated … I looked at your comment from last time I played it, so I was pretty sure your tastes hadn’t changed much since then.) Anyway, I’m glad you liked it and hope it brought a smile.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Of these three, for me it’s Dobie Gray, by a mile. But then I never did like the man with two haircuts, and Uncle Kracker sounds like the name of a child molester. And I don’t think it was a good idea for him to involve Dobie in his version, as it just highlights how inferior it is. I always quite liked Rod Stewart’s cover of this but for me the best I’ve heard is…. you guessed it…. John Henry Kurtz. Swamp rock is nothing to be afraid of: think Tony Joe White (Polk Salad Annie) or Joe South (Games People Play).

    Liked by 3 people

    • The man with two haircuts??? Michael Bolton? I agree about Uncle Kracker’s name, but he’s not bad for a singer. I don’t think I knew Rod Stewart covered this … I’ll go have a listen! And no, my friend, I didn’t guess John Henry Kurtz! Hmmmm … okay, neither of those songs offend me, though neither are destined to make my top ten list, either. So … why is it called ‘swamp rock’? When I think of ‘swamp’ I think of something dark and dangerous! Anyway … I’m glad you liked the song, or at least one version of it!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yup, when he had a normal one at the front and that long mane at the back. He looked ridiculous!

        Rod’s cover is on Atlantic Crossing.

        I don’t know for sure but I think the swamp rock name derives from the location it comes from. I’m guessing Florida?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Heh heh … I don’t recall his hair then … I guess I just don’t pay much attention to their looks. Oh no … that can’t be right … I’m not THAT old! I must pay more attention! Sigh.

          Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi are the three states best known for their swamps, so yeah, probably Florida.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thx for the recommendation, i’ve never heard Mr Kurtz’ version before and i really like it. His country flair made the song, i dare say even better than Dobie Gray. 🙂
      I’m not familiar with swamp rock, it sounds alot like old fashion country to me.

      Like

  3. Whoa! The composition, the interpretation (all 3 versions), the whole shebang … it’s just too bland and on ya nose American for my lofty musical taste.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmmm … just a porch and a cool drink, eh? Well, I can probably manage the cool drink … 🍹 🥤 … but I think you’ll have to talk to somebody else about the porch! 😉 Glad you enjoyed the song, though! xx

      Like

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