“Right By My Side”: (Curt) Boettcher & (Bobby) Jameson

I couldn’t help noticing that Bobby Jameson wrote the kick-off song on Michele O’Malley’s Saturn Rings album.  Curt Boettcher, interestingly, would be picked to produce Jameson’s second album (although the first “proper” album under his own name) – Color Him In.  “Right By My Side” is the A-side of the album’s second single issued by Verve (while his first single had been released, curiously enough, as simply by “Jameson” – no first name):

Bobby Jameson — “Right By My Side” — August, 1967

Jameson’s outstanding first album, as it turns out, had been recorded under a pseudonym (Chris Lucey), and its cover, bizarrely, featured a photo of Brian Jones, face down, playing the mouth harp and doing a rudely abstract gesture with his middle finger, I kid you not.

Cubist cover for Jameson’s 1967 verve album

Bobby Jameson LP coverFor those not familiar with this stranger-than-fictional tale, Bobby Jameson’s first album – Songs of Protest and Anti-Protest – is a set of songs that Jameson wrote to order based upon a supplied set of song titles!   As Jameson himself reveals on his website, his artistically successful UK tour of 1964-65, where he appeared on Ready Steady Go and recorded with The Rolling Stones, nevertheless did little for his finances.  Thus, broke and hungry, Jameson was vulnerable when he agreed to take on the character of “Chris Lucey” and write new songs to substitute for those whose titles had already been printed on the album jacket for (the real-life) Chris Ducey, who fled to another label, where he was under contract.  The songs, written over two weeks’ time and recorded with Marshall Lieb (Phil Spector’s bandmate in The Teddy Bears) are amazingly – given the circumstances – excellent and worthy of a world audience.

Obliquely Impolite Hand Gestures in the Annals of Pop – ‘Chris Lucey’ & Moby Grape

Chris Lucey LPMoby Grape LP

Artist as Musicologist:  check out Bobby Jameson’s annotated chronological listing of his own vinyl releases from 1963-1977.

Unlikely +/- One-Off Songwriter Pairings

Thanks to Bill Hanke for one of my all-time favorite bits of Beatle trivia:

Q:   Title of the only Harrison-Lennon composition?
A:    1961’s “Cry for a Shadow”

Cry for a Shadow1964 German Beatles 45

Bobby Jameson’s late 1964 single, “All I Want Is My Baby,” was co-written by Andrew Loog Oldham (manager of The Rolling Stones) and Keith Richards – one of two such songs by this unlikely pairing (the other being “I’d Much Rather Be With the Boys“):

Fuzz guitar (maybe) by Jimmy page + backing vocals (possibly) by mick Jagger

Unwashed masses, I turn to you:  any other unlikely/one-off songwriter pairings out there?

“Only Colombe”: No Longer Unreleased

I stumbled upon a Gene Clark “never released” 45 that had finally been issued in 2008 — 40 years after its original recording date — by those fine folks at Sundazed.

Artist:  Gene Clark
Producer:  Gary Usher
A-Side:  “Only Colombe”
B-Side:  “The French Girl”
Recorded:  April 24, 1967
Released:  May 27, 2008

This item appeared in the 45Cat database, interestingly enough, when I used the search term, “Boettcher.”   As it turns out, Curt Boettcher would appear on this recording as a guest vocalist.  Gary Usher, in fact, would use Boettcher’s backing band, The Ballroom, for support, as well as vocal assistance from future Together recording label artists, Michele O’Malley and Sandy Salisbury.

Sundazed’s Scott Schinder tells how this came to be:

“[Gene Clark’s] reticence to tour outside California, combined with the fact that [his debut LP] was released virtually simultaneously with The Byrds’ Younger Than Yesterday all but guaranteed that Clark’s solo debut would fail to find a wide audience.

“That April (1967), in the wake of the album’s disappointing reception, Clark cut a pair of new tracks – the brooding original composition “Only Colombe” and a haunting reading of Ian and Sylvia’s “The French Girl” for release as a prospective single …

“‘Only Colombe’ and ‘The French Girl’ would go unheard by Clark’s admirers until 1991, [with Sony CD, Echoes] the same year that the artist died at the age of 46.  This release marks the first time that these historic tracks have been issued in their original mono mixes.”

Gene Clark 45

“Astral Cowboy”: Not Enough Echo

Yesterday’s piece about Sagittarius (et al.) brought to mind one particular Curt Boettcher song that too few people have heard, 1969’s (demo only) “Lament of the Astral Cowboy” — one hundred forty mesmerizing seconds, each one of them echo-filled:

Could this be what Gram Parsons had envisioned when he came up with the idea of “Cosmic American Music”?   Curt Boettcher, who would compose/produce for Sagittarius and Millenium and also serve as house producer for Columbia, would briefly form a label with Gary Usher & Keith Olsen (Together Records) and ultimately give “Lament of the Astral Cowboy” to Together artist, Michele O’Malley, for her one and only album release, Saturn Rings (where O’Malley would alter the title slightly to “Astro Cowboy”).

Boettcher would later release a solo album on Elektra, 1973’s There’s an Innocent Face, after the folding of his label.  Sessions for a follow-up album, Chicken Little Was Right, did take place briefly before Curt left Elektra to pursue a career as a session vocalist, and as the liner notes indicate, “there is reason to believe ‘Astral Cowboy’ was planned to appear on Chicken Little Was Right.”

 Glen Campbell:  The Voice Behind “My World Fell Down” by Sagittarius

Tip of the hat to The Big Takeover‘s Jack Rabid for his illuminating and well-researched review in AllMusic of Sagittarius’s Present Tense from 1968, an album centered around its ‘enthralling’ single, “My World Fell Down” – a song that features, surprisingly enough, the guest vocal talents of Glen Campbell:

“The initial 1967 single, “My World Fell Down” — which went to number 70 in the charts — is largely sought after by the most fanatical of Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys followers, since it not only replicates that unique and incomparable production value, but benefits greatly from a lead vocal by Glen Campbell.  Not his “Rhinestone Cowboy” voice, it’s the more angelic, boyish Mike Love tones he employed when then touring and recording with the Beach Boys.  As well, real Beach Boy Bruce Johnston sings a key part, as does fellow producer Terry Melcher and vaunted session man Hal Blaine sits in.  Mixing “Good Vibrations” with “God Only Knows,” “My World Fell Down” is a missing link to pre-breakdown Brian Wilson’s obsessions, particularly the bonus-track single version, which blends in pre-psychedelia sounds of a bullfight, an alarm clock, and a crying infant.  Subsequent recordings found Usher teaming with singer/writer/producer Curt Boettcher, whom Usher met while working with Wilson, and some use songs from the latter’s singing group Ballroom and players from Boettcher’s new, real band Millennium.”