Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Gib Guilbeau

Red Rhodes

"The Rockets" aka "Crazy Horse"

I ended up in the locked ward of Edgemont Hospital, on suicide watch, after my Continental Hotel experience. Edgemont Hospital was located right around Vermont Ave. and Hollywood Blvd., in the east end of Hollywood.

I stayed in the locked ward long enough for the staff to decide I was no longer a threat to myself. In time I was moved to the west wing, and allowed the freedom of the hospital hallways and outdoor patio, where I could get some fresh air and sunshine.

I was on medication to help keep me calm, but in my way of thinking the crisis was over for the time being. It was the combination of booze and cocaine that had gotten me so crazy, but after a week or so I'd cleared my head and body of those effects.

While I was in Edgemont "drying out" as they say, three members of "The Rockets," Danny Whitten, Ralph Molina, and Billy Talbot came to see me. By that time "The Rockets" had morphed into "Crazy Horse." Somehow they had been able to convince the staff to let me out of the hospital on a three or four hour day pass.

They took me to a recording studio where they announced, "We're going to make a record!" They'd all decided that this would be the best therapy possible for me at that time, and I was ecstatic at the prospect of cutting a record with my old friends.

Armed with a fifth of J and B scotch, purchased at a liquor store on the way, we headed for the recording studio, which I can't remember the name of. When we got there Danny pointed to Red Rhodes who was there to play steel guitar, something I'd used once before while doing the album Working in 1968. I met Gib Guilbeau, who played bluegrass fiddle on the session, a first for me.

The songs we cut were Big Spoke Wheel and My Body Doesn't Care. Big Spoke Wheel was written by me on a rooftop in West Hollywood, in 1969, during an eclipse of the sun. I have no memory of how they even knew about the song, or who was gonna pay for the session. Possibly Gavin Murrel produced it, and I don't know who engineered it.

It was a remarkable gift they gave to me that day, and what came out of it is captured for all time in the finished recordings. Both Danny Whitten and Red Rhodes are gone now, but they will live forever in my memory and through their music. I was lucky enough to have been a small part of it. These recordings are more important for their sakes than mine.

It is another part of the historical record of music from that time, created by chance and circumstance, and the friendship of those who lived and died playing the music they created and loved. To me, "Big Spoke Wheel" and "My Body Doesn't Care" are recordings created out of love and respect by those who participated in the making of it.


  1. Love it! Sounds full of easy joy, and what a great gift they gave you that day. DAMN that voice of yours is sooo effective expressing feelings....

  2. Red Rhodes' and Gib Guilbeau's pedal steel and fiddle duet behind your Cajun motorcycle delivery makes a very fine recording indeed. It's hard to imagine that you walked out of the hospital and right into the studio to cut a piece this fine.

    Red Rhodes was a great steel player with a very identifiable style. He was the center of Mike Nesmith's First and Second National Bands, It is nice to hear him on this piece.

  3. Big spoke wheel just gets better and better every time you here it. the lyrics are so good!.P

  4. Oh, man . . . what a great tune! Could easily have heard that one coming out of the radio speaker on a sweet summer evening. Thanks, Bobby!

  5. Bobby, Red played on your 1969 album, I think the sessions were in '68, but I'm guessing he overdubbed his parts when you weren't around. He was the No#1 steel guy in LA at the time.

    p.s. great posts

  6. Another stunning tune from the vaults of Bobby Jameson. As I progress through the blog I keep discovering that you have connections to many musical figures I have admired at one time or another like Andrew Oldham who's production with people like Del Shannon and Billy Nicholls among others have been things I've appreciated in my life, The Rooney Brothers who made some amazing music of their own, Curt Boettcher, Love, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Red Rhodes of the underrated First National Band who's first two albums I am fond of, and now I come to find out that you recorded with the Rockets/Crazy Horse. That's nuts. Where does it end? The list just keeps growing. I'm so into The Rockets album and the first Crazy Horse album so that blows my mind just a bit. And there's only so much recorded output featuring Danny Whitten so that's extra special. Goddamn, the sound of you with those guys is such a good fit. They had the same type of imperfect, soulful realness that you were trying to achieve with your Working album. I wish there was several albums worth of this stuff. It's a match made in heaven.

  7. Ghosts of Ralphs early tack tack tack drumming style.. Great song with great legendary musicians, past & present.