Sunday, January 26, 2014

Joe Dowell: An insanely complete post-Smash/Mercury discography

Praguefrank's excellent Country Music Discographies website says on its Joe Dowell page that "info is very hard to find" on Joe Dowell's recordings after he left the Smash/Mercury labels. 

The Music Weird comes to the rescue with an insanely complete discography of Dowell's later recordings. 

Joe Dowell was born in Bloomington, Indiana, and scored a #1 pop hit in 1961 with "Wooden Heart," a song that Elvis performed in G.I. Blues. RCA Victor didn't release Elvis' version as a single, so Smash Records had the then-unknown Dowell record it. 

Dowell's later hits included "Bridge of Love" and the novelty song "Little Red Rented Rowboat," the latter of which caused a mild controversy with its lyric about bikinis. 

Most of Dowell's Smash and Mercury recordings can be found on the CD Wooden Heart, which I produced for the German Bear Family Records label years ago and is still available. The booklet tells the whole story of "Wooden Heart." 

So, on with the discography:

Joe Dowell's post-Smash/Mercury discography


If I Could Find Out What Is Wrong b/w Indian Summer Days (Monument MN45-952, 1966)

Christmas in Ann Arbor b/w Patapan (A French Christmas Song) (Journey [no catalog number], 1972-73)

Big River b/w same (Westinghouse Power Systems, 1973)

Those Darn Inflation Blues b/w same (Journey promo JD 413, 1973) 

Those Darn Inflation Blues b/w Jesus in the Midst of My Day (Journey JD 413, 1973)

Two Hearts b/w same (Journey JD 414, 1974)

The Spirit of 76 (W.D. Boyce Council NR7609, 1976)
(A four-song 7" EP for the Boy Scouts of America)

Joe Dowell Sings for Ann Arbor Federal Savings (No label [no catalog number], 197?)
  • Wooden Heart / Shenandoah / Riddle Song // Streets of Laredo / Green Grow the Lilacs / Leatherwing Bat
Joe Dowell Sings for Second Federal (No label [no catalog number], 197?)

  • Wooden Heart / Shenandoah / Riddle Song // Streets of Laredo / Green Grow the Lilacs / Leatherwing Bat
Homeward on the Wind b/w same (Journey 1238, 1985)

Homeward on the Wind b/w The Symphony of Dawn (Journey promo 1238, 1985)

New Nails b/w same (Journey promo JO-8502, 198?)


Joe Dowell Sings Folk Songs (DMR Records RR4M-5063-5064, 1963)
  • Jamaica Farewell / Times Are Gettin' Hard / Leatherwing Bat / Green Leaves of Summer / Tell Ol' Bill / Peter Gray / Shanghaied // Hey There, Honey / Try to Remember / Lemon Tree / The Cockle Box / Cute Little Window / Donna, Donna / Freight Train

Joe Dowell Sings for C.R.O.P. (CROP 29056/AV 683, 196?)
(This album for the Church World Service Hunger Appeal in Elkhart, Indiana, contains a 13-minute radio show, seven PSAs that include excerpts of Joe Dowell singing "Wooden Heart," "Big River," and "After the Rainfall," and the full recording of Dowell's "When I Was Hungry")
  • Singing for Their Supper // PSA 1 / PSA 2 / PSA 3 / PSA 4 / PSA 5 / PSA 6 / PSA 7 / When I Was Hungry

Of Earth & Heaven (Journey RDS-1 NR18504, 198?)
(String arrangements and production by Bill Pursell of "Our Winter Love" fame)
  • Song of Questions / Stay Where You Are / Jesus in the Midst of My Day / Symphony of Dawn / New Nails / Comin' Back to Life / Only in Thee / His Sunrise Prayer / The Vision / Tonight You Brought Me Home

Joe Dowell & Friends BGA Benefit Concert (Bloomington Grove Academy CD-R, 2002)
  • Fly Me to the Moon / Wooden Heart / The Summer Wind / I've Got the Sun in the Morning & the Moon at Night / Don't Think Twice / It's More than a Tattered Flag / My Cup Runneth Over / Old Man River / Nice and Easy / Try to Remember / Moszkowski No. 11 in Ab Major / Sleepwalk / Steel Guitar Rag / Jamaica Farewell / Symphony of Dawn / The Last Thing on My Mind / Unchained Melody / Young at Heart

Radio jingles

John M. Downey Carpet Cleaners – Astronauts (1964)
John M. Downey Carpet Cleaners – Happy Walking (1964)
The Goodyear Bank (1966)
Ohio Citizens Bank (1966)
Big River (for the National Wildlife Federation, 1966)
Ballad of the Agricultural Hall of Fame (for the National Wildlife Foundation, 1966)
Elias Brothers Family Restaurants – Fresh & Tasty (196?/197?)
Elias Brothers Family Restaurants – Pie Makin' Guys (196?/197?)
Elias Brothers Family Restaurants – Easter Is Here Again (196?/197?)


  1. I have a "DJ Copy" 7" Vinyl of ""New Nails" on both sides. Produced by Joe Pell for Journey Records

    1. Very cool. It must be pretty rare—it doesn't seem to be listed anywhere. The only reference to it that I found online is in a 1994 article in the Bloomington, Illinois newspaper about items founds in a thrift shop. That was from Joe's last album, so he probably pressed as few as 100 copies of the promo single.