Monday, May 21, 2012


Randy Wood...owner of Mira/Surrey with Betty Chiapetta

It is definitely time to make a far finer point out of how desperate Randy Wood and Betty Chiapetta were over the disaster they were facing by not being able to release the original Songs Of Protest album by Chris Ducey. Bobby Jameson's actions in solving the problem actually saved the Mira/Surrey launch into Europe. Had Mira/Surrey not been able to salvage the album, the entire Surrey line would have gone down in flames. This is not an overstatement, but a fact. The entire deal would have collapsed otherwise. If this is true, which it is, then Bobby Jameson's work in reinventing the album from stem to stern must be viewed as being directly responsible for accomplishing the company's successful outcome and ultimate expansion.

Overtime, far too many people with no connection or real knowledge about this subject have continued to spew forth their personal opinions regarding something they know little or nothing about. They were not there; I was. The original Ducey record was not released because it had legal problems. Fortunately, Ducey had legal representation and they prevented Mira/Surrey from releasing the album. That fact is what caused the snag in the first place for Mira/Surrey. The newly minted Jameson version was then released in place of the Ducey version with even more critical legal problems. But Jameson, unlike Ducey, was not represented by anyone, and was incapable of preventing the album's release. Be that as it may, it was the Jameson version, as Chris Lucey, that saved the entire Surrey line from collapse before it even got off the ground.

Think for a moment, if you will, what it would have meant to Mira's reputation as a record company, and to the reputation of Wood himself, as well as Chiapetta, if the Surrey deal had actually failed. They would have been harmed in a myriad of ways, but managed to save themselves from that catastrophe because of a kid named Bobby Jameson who resurrected the entire album. Wood and Chiapetta were in no position by then to continue looking for someone else to do the job. They had already run out of time when Jameson was brought in.

The facts, as they truly existed in 1965, were explained in depth to Bobby Jameson by Randy Wood the first time the two met. Randy, in no uncertain terms, said he was up against the wall over the problem he was facing, and was being forced by circumstances to rely on Jameson's ability to salvage the wreck threatening Mira/Surrey. Bobby Jameson was Randy Wood's last ditch effort to prevent such a catastrophic failure from happening. The entire company knew that the Surrey deal would fail if the album, Songs Of Protest And Anti-Protest, failed. That was the pressure. The pressure on Mira/Surrey as a company, and the pressure on a twenty-year-old flat broke kid named Bobby Jameson, who was willing to give it a try.

Bobby Jameson was not being sought after as an artist or writer by anyone in 1965. He just happened to meet Pam Burns, Randy Wood's secretary, in Hollywood. Pam became fond of Jameson and learned he could write songs and sing them. Because Mira was faced with the Ducey problem, and had already come up with the Lucey fix for the Ducey album jacket, which happened before Jameson ever stepped foot in Mira's office, Pam knew that finding someone to write and record ten new songs was a priority. After Wood and Chiappetta repeatedly failed at getting someone to do the job, Pam Burns began pestering Wood about this kid she'd met. Like it, or believe it or not, Bobby Jameson was brought to Mira for one reason and one reason only: To save the Songs Of protest album so it could be used to finalize the Mira Surrey expansion into Europe.

It probably sounds like impossible nonsense to some who think they know what went on back then, but the truth is, a twenty year old kid was given a job that the entire company's reputation depended on. I agree, it sounds implausible, but in my mind back then it was far simpler. Just write ten songs to this guy Ducey's titles and then sing em in the studio. That's what I was good at, writing songs and singing them. I didn't care what their business problems were, I just knew I could come up with the songs and do a good job recording them. I thought the whole thing sounded pretty weird, but if that's what they wanted me to do, then that's what I'd do.

What I did know, was that Randy Wood was like an animal that everybody was afraid of. He didn't talk to people, he told them things, and expected them to accept what he told them. He was pretty damn colorful, and forceful, but I'd already been through Tony Alamo's bullshit, and Andrew Oldham as well, not to mention Brit Record's, so I wasn't intimidated by him. He seemed exactly like the others I'd had to deal with. Randy didn't like that about me, my brashness, he damn near told me to kiss off because of it, but he couldn't, because he needed me, and that bothered the shit out of him.

For some to now presume that I did the job I did in 1965 for Mira, and knowingly and willingly give up all of my rights to my songs and performance as Chris Lucey is about as far fetched a reach as I can imagine. There was no verbal agreement or written agreement saying, I Bobby Jameson knowingly and willingly give up all my rights to this work, and as I have stated, I was not represented by anyone in this matter at the time it took place.

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