Wednesday, April 8, 2009

FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2008


Fortunately or unfortunately, as the case may be, I am telling my story. The argument I am having with myself and some of you is a carbon copy of the kinds of arguments I was having with VERVE RECORDS and Steve Clark and others, in the beginning of 1968, over the direction my next album for VERVE would take. I am not talking about "free speech" as a side issue to the story, it is a central issue of the story. Verve Records was the label I was on, but VERVE wanted to decide what I could or could not do on my follow up album to "COLOR HIM IN".

I have often wondered how an album such as "COLOR HIM IN" could be so widely distributed across this planet, but never have sold that well, according to VERVE RECORDS. In 40 years I have become aware of how many people either know the album or have the album, but it didn't sell that well? I have never had an accounting from VERVE as to how many records actually were sold. In 1967 into 1968 you could find "COLOR HIM IN" in any record store in America, I knew this, so I felt from my standpoint that the record had done better than I was being led to believe by the people I worked with, namely VERVE.

Because of this I wanted to have a say about the construction both song wise and production wise of the next album. VERVE was unwilling to grant me this freedom of expression. It became the battle of free speech as an artist. Freedom, and the right to it, is a central point of what this story is actually about. I suppose if all you want to do is talk about CHRIS LUCEY "SONGS OF PROTEST AND ANTI PROTEST" and "COLOR HIM IN" then in essence the story is over, but on a far wider spectrum the story has only gotten half way or less.

When I cut "ALL I WANT IS MY BABY" in England, for ANDREW OLDHAM, I had no say in anything. On returning to America I was relegated to writing songs to someone else's titles for CHRIS LUCEY there was no free speech involved in that, I was merely a hired hand. "VIETNAM/METROPOLITAN MAN" was an act of free speech, but they were censored from the onset and would have been forced into obscurity if not for their appearance in the movie "MONDO HOLLYWOOD".

Each of the following recordings after that were never really given an opportunity on merit to be heard or judged by the public at large, so to question a discussion about free speech seems to fly in the face of a problem I was constantly dealing with. By the time I got to the follow up album to "COLOR HIM IN" "free speech" was the entire matter personified. I wanted, in fact demanded, the right to say what I wanted to say on the second album. I had paid enough dues, in my opinion, by that time to be given some sort of artistic freedom with which to create a work that was not only controversial, but ground breaking in it's concept and execution.

I had gone along for years doing almost everything the way somebody else wanted. In 1968 I made a decision that would change that it was an exercise in "free speech" and also one of futility. VERVE was afraid of what I wanted to do. To this day they have the tapes of those sessions and I am not even allowed to have copies. In the past 2 years or so VERVE was contacted in my behalf and would not agree to give me a copy of my contract with them, their excuse, their contract was with STEVE CLARK and OUR PRODUCTIONS, not me. So this is not some vague ranting by BOBBY JAMESON on his blog, this is a 40 year old continuing controversy about the rights of an artist/writer and the moral obligation of an industry to make right a very old wrong.

In the end neither I nor VERVE RECORDS would agree to the others demands.To this day I do not know the legal ramifications of the split between VERVE, OUR PRODUCTIONS and BOBBY JAMESON. I have never been paid one penny for "COLOR HIM IN" and I have never been given an accounting, nor was I given access to my final work with VERVE and OUR PRODUCTIONS. The break between these factions in 1968 is the basis for my album "WORKING", although much in the way of anger and resentment permeated my existence from that time forward.

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