“Memories of the Future” by Dale Ockerman Project
Review by Bill Bentley
from Bentley’s Bandstand: January 2023
There are some musicians who work a bit away from the spotlight, maybe, but that surely doesn’t mean they’re any less powerful. Dale Ockerman is an original, a California-based player who has been creating music in the Santa Cruz area for decades and keeps getting closer and closer to total liftoff. MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE is his finest effort yet. Beginning with a glorious new version of Quicksilver Messenger Service’s “What About Me” featuring vocalist James Durbin, the album is announced straight-up as one that demands to be heard. This group of musicians is treading in sacred territory and you can tell they realize that in the way they deliver the goods. The second track takes it to the next level: a new version of Moby Grape’s classic “Bitter Wind,” written by the band’s Bob Mosley. To up the ante now even more, vocalist Omar Spence, son of the Grape’s unforgettable Skip Spence, sings this new version. It is a heart-bumping example of how so much of the 1960’s high points will stay current forever. Two songs in, and this album clearly is one for the ages. All the following songs live up to these early mind-bogglers, with vocalists Richard Bryant and William Russ, Jr. joining in on mostly Ockerman originals that soar with a timeless glow. The stunning “Shine” near the album’s end brings in another Moby Grape member, drummer and vocalist Don Stevenson, for what may be the release’s biggest surprise. It is such a fine-pointed ballad of unbeatable intensity that it sounds like a modern classic. Stevenson’s moving voice is right there with it, and strong and moving as it was in Moby Grape. Dale Ockerman has made an album that will no doubt live into the future, making new memories of a present golden era. Do not miss.
More about reviewer Bill Bentley (from Wikipedia):
Entering the record business, Bentley became the director of publicity at Slash Records and rose to become a senior vice president of media relations at Warner Bros. Records. In his role as a publicist, he has worked with such artists as Los Lobos, Elvis Costello, The Blasters, Green Day, X, Lou Reed, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and R.E.M. As a record company executive, he has provided guidance to the careers of such artists as Doug Sahm, ZZ Top and Wilco. In addition, throughout a career in music that spans over forty years, he has been a writer of liner notes to numerous record releases.
He wrote liner notes on albums by Stevie Ray Vaughn, ZZ Top, Little Milton. Bentley’s first book, Smithsonian Rock & Roll: Live and Unseen, was published by Smithsonian Books in October 2017. He is presently writing for Neil Young Archives, and started Water Bros. Films in 2019.