Thursday, June 7, 2012
The album, Songs Of Protest And Anti-Protest, was the lynch-pin for the entire deal with Mira/Surrey's expansion into Europe in 1965, and here's why. This is something no one understands, and a subject I tried to explain to Steve Stanley on more than one occasion with little success. The Europeans wanted the album cover with Brian Jones picture on it for their market. They knew it would sell on sight. Surrey was created as a budget label that would sell records without promoting them in the usual way. It was a rack job operation. That means that the records would literally be sold on visual interest of shoppers from metal racks at grocery, drug, and variety stores, for discount prices. The Europeans were convinced that the Songs Of Protest cover was perfect for this kind of business, so they wanted it. They weren't as interested in what was in it musically, Ducey's version or mine, they were in love with the album jacket's art work and the picture of Brian Jones.
The necessity for Mira/Surrey, because the Ducey version could not be used, was to find someone to write and record ten new songs to the titles already printed on the album jacket. Surrey wasn't trying to make a great album at that point, they were trying save that cover because of it's importance to their overall deal with Europe. Like it or not, the music was a secondary point back then, and merely a vehicle to preserve the use of the album jacket. Mira/Surrey's hope was that it would be halfway decent musically and good enough to serve it's greater purpose. No one knew initially that the album was going to turn out as good as it did, that was a bonus.
The Ducey version was kept from being released because of contract problems with Chris Ducey. When my version, the Chris Lucey version, was completed, the problem with contracts came up again. I refused to sign the contract that was presented to me because I didn't know what it actually said. I asked for legal representation before I would sign it, which was denied me. Randy Wood got so pissed off, because of this, that he threw me against a wall and demanded that I sign the contract, which I again refused to do until I got a third party to tell me what it said. In a decision, which can only be deemed as illegal, Mira/Surrey released the album anyway to protect their own business interests in Europe. This was, and still is, the legal status of the Chris Lucey version of Songs Of Protest. Like the Ducey version before it, the Lucey version should not have been released until the contractual problems were sorted out. The difference being that Ducey had people who made sure of this, while I a twenty-year-old kid did not.
None of the legal problems with the album were ever dealt with, and they have always existed. They were just unknown, outside of a few people. Chiapetta assumed, along with everybody else, that I was dead, so she sold the master to Ace thinking no one would ever know the truth, or care that I had been harmed. The problem was that I wasn't dead, I was just missing. It was because Steve Stanley called me in 2003 that I found out about the album being released on Rev-Ola, a company I'd never even heard of. Had Steve not called me I very well may never have known about this at all. I wasn't keeping up with the music business, so it was his call that alerted me to it and brought me out of seclusion. And over time it was Steve Stanley who gave me all the information I didn't have. I knew nothing about Ace, Rev-Ola, or Cherry Red, and I had forgotten about Betty Chiapetta altogether. I learned all these things from Steve Stanley, a stranger, who'd gotten hold of my Social Security number and used it to find me by hiring a private investigator. It's an odd kind of karma I guess, because the guy who found me when I didn't want to be found, is the same guy who unwittingly gave me all the information I now have, and use, in fighting this battle over the rights to the album Songs Of Protest And Anti-Protest. The album I created.
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