Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Luxury Of Not Knowing...originally posted in 2011

Richie Unterberger

In 1985, I'd become deeply aware that I was the only person who knew where I'd started in 1963 with Let's Surf, and as well, who I'd morphed into by the middle 80's.

I realized that all the records I'd made were viewed as creations of various individual artists other than me. For instance, Songs Of Protest And Anti Protest by Chris Lucey was never attributed to, Bobby Jameson, until decades after it was made. It had barely been remembered as a one-shot deal from an unknown artist named Chris Lucey. Similarly, All I Want Is My Baby, recorded in London in 1964, was assigned to an English artist with the same name as me, but not to me personally. And again, I'm So Lonely, also from 1964, was credited to an early 60's artist.

Each of my attempts in the music business had been seen as a separate career by various different persons. None of my previous work was ever understood to have been the work of the latest and continuous Bobby Jameson. The different labels, countries, and styles, helped create the confusion, so it was not seen as the sustained career of a single artist.

Rum Pum, Vietnam, Mondo Hollywood, Reconsider Baby, Gotta Find My Roogalator, and All Alone, were again, not attributed to me, and my ever growing library of songs and recordings, but regarded as mediocre works by separate artists with a similar name. Nobody ever said, "Hey, look at all the work this guy has done," because nobody knew that I had.

By the time I wrote and recorded Color Him In, in 1966, I was again referred to as a new artist, known simply as Jameson. None of my previous work was known to be mine, so I was treated as if I had no track record at all, even though I had started years earlier, in 1963, and had worked on two continents with a lot of different people.

With the album, Working, recorded in 1968, I used the name Bobby Jameson, instead of Jameson, but again found myself with little connection to my past work. There was a slight awareness that I was the Jameson who had made Color Him In, but for the most part I was just starting from the beginning again.

I was so splintered by this reality that I found it difficult, if not impossible, to convey to anyone who I was, or what I had actually done. In my mind, I had the complete picture of all of my work, but in the eyes of others, I was just some new flash in the pan that they should dismiss.

Rather than view myself in terms of my latest failed recording, at any given time, I saw myself as someone who had continued to write and record music any way, and every way, I could since 1963. I was burdened with knowing the context and continuity of my own work and career, while others knew nothing about it at all.

In 1969, with the dismal reception of my album Working, I too began to regard myself as a failure. This god-awful vision of myself was to eventually epitomize my own thinking, as well as that of others, for decades.

So in 1985, I left Hollywood, and L.A., in a broken heap, surmising as I went, that it was not only the last straw that broke me, but all the last straws, over time, that caused me to retreat into obscurity.

For me, there was always a sense, vague as it might have been, that the only way to convey what had really happened, would be for someone to write a book with all of the facts firmly in hand. It had appeared far too easy, from where I stood, to relegate a person, any person, to the ash heap of history using either flawed facts, or no facts at all.

If nothing else has been accomplished by me writing my own story, at least I got my name, age, and place of birth correct, something the so-called music historians have mostly failed in doing to this day. Even though the facts, and most of the basic points are here on this blog, a lot of what has been written by those, such as, Richie Unterburger, remain inaccurate. Some might say it reflects upon my own unimportance, but I say, "If it was important enough to write about in the first place, and get it wrong, then it is important enough to be corrected by those who wrote it, and to set the record straight." The failure to do so reflects a lack of seriousness, and editorial integrity, by the authors themselves, and those whom they write for...


  1. Well, I'd say that you have accomplished a bit more than getting your birth place and day right.

    This blog, along with your YouTube and poetry blog postings, has shown an incredible range of creative output that is quickly approaching fifty years of artistic endeavors. Despite a twenty year gap, your prose, poetry, and songwriting show a remarkably eclectic approach and aesthetic vision.

    At the same time, you have offered an incredibly personal autobiography detailing the dangers of addiction and dependency, the possibility of persistent resistance to those dependencies, the perils of pursuing elusive and fleeting fame, and especially, a righteous indignation about the criminal vagaries of the music business.

    I know this will sound overly effusive, but even the titles of your posts make interesting reading. As tough and frustrating as it is to make yourself continue adding to this story and your other creative outlets, I hope you will continue to do so. Selfishly, of course, because I find them personally interesting, but more magnanimously because I think they offer insights, inspiration, and incentive to others.

    Thanks, Bobby

  2. Thanks Tim...I needed that...your words of encouragement......Sometimes it seems to me that I have accomplished absolutely this helps...Bobby