Here’s something you don’t hear every day. For a couple of years between 1969-71 my mate Charlie single-handedly ran the UK branch of the James Brown fan club. It sounds unlikely, but it’s absolutely true. Once a month Charlie was allocated office space at Polydor Records’ London HQ to mail out newsletters and 8 x 10 glossy photos of Soul Brother No.1 to subscription-paying members. This was not only pre-computers, of course, but also before the widespread implementation of photocopiers. So, Charlie would crank out the letters by hand on a noisy Gestetner duplicating machine. It was a tiresome, labour-intensive process, taking up most of an afternoon. To speed things up he sometimes invited me along to help stuff the envelopes and generally assist with admin. This is the story of one such visit we made in September 1970.
|Lifetime single - One Word|
|Derek & the Dominos withdrawn single - Tell The Truth|
|*James Brown - Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine (Pt1)|
|*Thunderclap Newman - Hollywood Dream (Track 2406 003)|
|*Melody Maker ad for Something In The Air - May 1969|
The Track executive was true to his word and sure enough, a week later, a complimentary gatefold sleeve, packed with photos, recording information and that all-important track listing, was waiting for me in reception. Finally, the package was complete and what a great, unassuming record it was. Every track was a joy. From the ten-minute version of “Accidents” (possibly the only pop song in history to warn of the dangers of train spotting) to the unreleased Bob Dylan number “Open the Door, Homer”, via every strange piano interlude, guitar instrumental and quirky pop/psych gem along the way. I loved it all. And underpinning everything was “Something In The Air” the gently euphoric worldwide number one hit single, soon to become a timeless and indestructible staple of 1960s classic rock radio.
|*Something In The Air sheet music|
|*Thunderclap Newman with Pete Townshend|
|*The 1973 US reissue of Hollywood Dream used a different sleeve|
|*One of the many Basement Tapes acetates. "Open The Door, Homer" often|
erroneously appeared as "Open The Door, Richard"
The songs on Hudson’s 14-track acetate were: "Million Dollar Bash", "Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread", "Please, Mrs. Henry", "Down in the Flood", "Lo and Behold", "Tiny Montgomery", "This Wheel's on Fire", "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", "I Shall Be Released", "Tears of Rage", "Too Much of Nothing", "The Mighty Quinn", "Open the Door, Homer" and "Nothing Was Delivered”.
|*Bob Dylan's Great White Wonder. The first rock bootleg?|
|*The complete Basement Tapes box set was finally released in 2014|