Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Original Chris Ducey album jacket 1965 Surrey Records
Chris Lucey album jacket 1965 Surrey Records
A couple of key things occurred before I ever stepped foot into Mira/Surrey Records or even met Randy Wood for the first time. The Rolling Stones had come to America and had been in LA. The reason this is relevant, is because the cover of Chris Ducey/Chris Lucey's album, "Songs Of Protest And Anti Protest" is a photograph of Brian Jones of The Stones.
They had gone to a club in West Hollywood called the "Action" for an afternoon jam session. I'd heard about it, but couldn't get in. I was outside the club in an alleyway and saw Mick Jagger with two girls, one on each arm, and had yelled to him. He'd turned and looked at me and I said "Hey Mick, it's me Bobby Jameson."
He barely acknowledged me and turned and walked away up the alley with the girls. I stood there for a moment feeling like I'd been slapped across the face and then moved on. As I said, the reason this event stands out and I mention it, is because Brian was inside the club getting his picture taken, which ended up being the cover of the Chris Lucey album. I didn't know this at the time it was happening, it's just another one of the weird details of this story that became known after the fact.
I'd also run into to Lois Johnston somewhere during that time, and she was making nice and wanted me to move back into her house in Benedict Canyon, where I'd lived before I went to England. I was surprised by this, in light of what had occurred in London, when she visited me there, but none the less, I eventually moved back in with her, something I would repeat a number of times in the future.
Randy Wood had acquired, or thought he had, an artist named Chris Ducey. They, (Mira/Surrey), had an entire album with 10 songs of Ducey's ready to go. The cover was printed, and there were thousands of them, with the titles of Ducey's songs printed on the album jackets. The album was already scheduled for a European release and part of the deal's success was strictly based on that particular album's cover, the one with Brian Jones's picture on it.
All of a sudden, they'd run into contract problems with Ducey, and he'd bowed out of the deal completely. There they were! An album cover, with no album, and 10 song titles printed on the covers, and no songs. They had to use that cover or the deal was dead and there was all the cost already involved, so they were stuck with that cover. They couldn't use Ducey's name, but it was printed on the cover.
The printer, who had done the original artwork on the jackets, figured out that he could run the already printed covers back through the presses and cancel out part of the letter D from Ducey's name and make it into an L. This is how Chris Lucey was created. Now all Randy Wood needed was someone to write 10 new songs to the existing titles, and record them all, as a brand new album. He needed that accomplished yesterday.
Randy Wood was a demanding human being, but also a resourceful one. He'd lined up Marshall Lieb, ex Teddy Bear and cohort of Phil Spector, to produce the thing, but they hadn't yet found anyone to write the songs to existing titles and record them.
Randy was also a cheap son of a bitch, which is probably why he hadn't had any success finding anyone to do the dirty work. Pam Burns, Randy's personal secretary, had repeatedly pushed Randy to give me a chance at doing it. He had been reluctant to even meet me, but was now running up against a deadline that he could no longer ignore, so he told Pam to bring me around.
I didn't know any of the details about this, until I met with Randy for the first time. I was flat broke and it was an opportunity, as far as I knew, to make a few bucks by writing songs. I said to Pam, "Let's go meet him." Randy was a black guy that looked almost white. He was well dressed all the time, and you could tell instantly that he was in charge of the entire universe, and if you questioned it, even slightly, he would straighten you out immediately. I on the other hand, was a 20 year old washed up pop star, who believed he could do anything, if given the chance.
We were a match made in hell, which I was intimately used to. He launched into the story of the Chris Ducey album and songs, and drug me over to where the album covers were. As soon as I saw the cover I said, "Hey, that looks like Brian Jones." "It is," said Randy, "We got that shot at "The Action Club" when they were here in LA. Great picture isn't it?" "Yeah," I said, "It's a real good picture. Why are you using that? I thought this guy's name was Ducey or something?" "It is," said Randy.
He showed me the two different covers, identical except for the "L" and the "D". He explained in detail what they had done and why, and what they needed now to keep the whole deal from going down the tubes and losing a lot of money. He said that I was there only because Pam Burns was relentless at promoting me to him. I said I knew that, and turned and smiled at Pam, who was quietly listening to how all this progressed.
Randy asked me again if I understood what he needed, and said that he needed it now. I told him I was clear on it, and asked him how much money I'd make for doing it. That seemed to piss him off a bit, because I'd changed the subject slightly and had assumed that I had the job, which he quickly straightened me out on. "I didn't say you could do it yet man, I don't even know if you're the right guy." "Yeah, sorry," I said, "I just wanted to know if you did let me do it, how much would I get?"
He looked at me, kind of disgusted, and then looked over at Pam, like, "Who is this guy?" We ended that particular meeting on somewhat of a sour note and I figured I blew it. As I left with Pam I told her I was sorry for screwing it up and thanked her for trying so hard. "What, are you kidding? You'll get it, don't worry." "Yeah, but..." "Don't worry," said Pam. "You got it, at least you got the opportunity. Just write him a couple of songs and if you do that the way I know you can, you got it." "How do you know?" I asked. "Because I know Randy, and because you're all he's got, and he's running out of time."
Early demo 1965 World War 3