John Wonderling: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — December 5, 2021

273) John Wonderling — “Man of Straw”

Forget Dark Side of the Moon, this triumphant ‘68 B-side to “Midway Down” belongs on the Wizard of Oz soundtrack.

Johnny Wonderling was of French ancestry, born and raised in Queens, New York. In 1968, he wrote “Midway Down” (recorded and released by The Creation in April 1968) and released a version of the song in September 1968 on Loma Records, a sublabel of Warner Bros. His single was the last single to be released on Loma just before their absorption into the Warner Bros. Records label. [The songs] weren’t promoted by the closing recording sublabel.

http://abitlikeyouandme.blogspot.com/2013/07/john-wonderling-man-of-straw-1968.html?m=1

“Man of Straw” was written by John, Carey Allane, and Ed Goldfluss. Wonderling says the scarecrow was Jesus, but Goldfluss says “there was no religious intent whatsoever.” (Andrew Sandoval’s liner notes to My Mind Goes High: Psychedelic Pop Nuggets from the WEA Vaults). Well, if Goldfluss was right, these are seriously depressing lyrics:

When the scarecrow in the garden died, the jury decided it was suicide. And you cried. Standing in the pouring rain, drying. So hard to wash away the blame born inside. A chorus of somber crows tells you that’s the way it goes for a man made of straw. Ha ha ha. . . . Though the scarecrow in the garden tried, the only human thing he ever did was to die.

Here is a re-recorded version from his ‘73 album, which I may like even more:

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