Proust, P.J. Proby’s valet, my Uncle Philip, Keith Richards and me

February 11, 2011

Here a great example of why I love the Internet:

I have been reading Keith Richards’ Life, and enjoying it, especially the parts where he talks about playing the guitar. (Now I have to have my own custom-made five string. I know Bob Taylor looks at this blog from time to time, maybe he’ll send me a sample for review quote.)

But anyway, I’m reading KR’s book, which I may or may not get around to writing about in detail on this site, when Keef starts talking about songwriting, and a “forgotten gem” he’d given away called “All I Want is My Baby” that was “recorded by P.J. Proby’s valet Bobby Jameson.”

Here’s that record — but there’s more to the story.

Now to be honest, this didn’t immediately click with me, but a couple of days later I’m writing about something else, and I want to make the point that the digitalization of media has made almost every formerly evanescent pop moment that my cohort (late Baby Boomers) can recall indelible. And to make this point, I try to think of the most obscure record I can actually remember owning as a kid, and I came up with Jameson, Color Him In (which I believe was on Verve).

I don’t exactly remember how I came to have this record, but I believe it was given to me by my uncle, also named Philip Martin, who was a San Francisco antiques dealer/designer/bon vivant of some note in the ’60s. I think — and this might have been my uncle’s exaggeration or my own romantic coloring of the past (though the man did run in hipster circles and had celebrity clients) — he told me the album was by a friend of his. I would have received it sometime in 1967 or 1968, which would have made it one of the first records I ever acquired.

I never knew anyone else who had this record; and when I was in high school I somehow got the idea it was very rare — though not particularly valuable. I lost it somewhere along the way, before I started playing in bands myself and several times over the years I tried to find out more about it.

I never did, and over the past 20 years or so I’d begun to doubt that the record every really existed — I thought I must have gotten the name wrong, or my mind had conflated a couple of other albums into a fictive Jameson, Color Him In.

So I typed it into Google (yes, Google, the official search engine of BDA) expecting the same results I’d had the last 50 times I’d tried searching for the album. But guess what, this time the very first hit was an Amazon.com page offering a CD copy of the album for sale. (Through their affliated dealers — starting at $34.95. I found a better deal at CDUniverse

And not only that, there were samples of the songs of the album. I hit a couple and the whole thing — an album I hadn’t listened to in more than 30 years, came roaring back. For the record, I like most of it — “Jamie” and “The New Age” I remember really well. It’s a wonder I didn’t “write” them myself, they’re so much a part of my subconscious.

Turns out there’s tons of stuff about Jameson — better known as Bobby Jameson— out there on the Interwebs. Some of it is dubious, more than once I read that he played, under the nom de stage Bobby Beausoleil, Cupid in the 1967 cult film Mondo Hollywood. (I may be wrong, but I believe that Bobby Beausoleil was actually the Manson’s Family’s Bobby Beausoleil and not our Bobby Jameson.)

But our Bobby Jameson — turns out he’s the same guy that Keith called P.J. Proby’s valet. He also used to live with Frank Zappa. And his first album, Songs Of Protest And Anti-Protest was released in the U.S. under the name “Chris Lucey” because the producer (Marshall Lieb) — well, it’s kind of complicated and this is getting a little long. You can read that story here.

And apparently, Jameson was in Mondo Hollywood, but he didn’t appear as Cupid, but performing his song “Vietnam.”

And best of all, I found a website run by the man himself. He’s led an extrordinary life. It’s all amazing to me.

I’m sending a link of this post to Mr. Jameson. Maybe he’ll respond, if I got any of this wrong.


1 Comment

  • Comment by Uncleredeye — Feb 16,2011 at 3:31 pm

    No way.

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