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10 Aug 2016

Jim Sullivan “U.F.O.”1969 US Private Psych Folk Rock





Jim Sullivan “U.F.O.”1969 US Private Psych Folk Rock

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N__wplJkRTg

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Jim Sullivan story

https://vimeo.com/15206040

Ultra rare 1969 private press psych-folk-rock masterpiece – featuring the legendary Wrecking Crew (Beach Boys, Phil Spector)

In March 1975, Jim Sullivan mysteriously disappeared outside Santa Rosa, New Mexico. His VW bug was found abandoned, his motel room untouched. Some think he got lost in the desert. Some think he fell foul of a local family with alleged mafia ties. Some think he was abducted byaliens.By coincidence – or perhaps not – Jim’s 1969 debut album was titled U.F.O. Released in tiny numbers on a private label, it too was truly lost, until Seattle’s Light In The Attic Records begun a years-long quest to give it the full release it deserves – and to solve the mystery of Sullivan’s disappearance. Only one of those things happened.For record collectors, some albums are considered impossible to get hold of, records so rare you could sit on eBay for years and not get a sniff of a copy. U.F.O. is one of those albums. A seventh son, Jim Sullivan was a West Coast should-have-been, an Irish-American former high school quarterback whose gift for storytelling earned him cult status in the Malibu bar where he performed nightly. Sullivan was always on the edge of fame; hanging out with movie stars like Harry Dean Stanton, performing on the Jose Feliciano show, even stealing a cameo in the ultimate hippie movie, Easy Rider.Friend and actor Al Dobbs thought he could change all that, and founded a label – Monnie Records – to release Jim’s album, enlisting the assistance of Phil Spector’s legendary sessioneers The Wrecking Crew to do so. That’s Don Randi, Earl Palmer and Jimmy Bond you can hear, the latter also acting as producer and arranger.U.F.O. was a different beast to the one-man-and-his-guitar stuff Jim had been doing on stage; instead, it was a fully realised album of scope and imagination, a folk-rock record with its head in the stratosphere. Sullivan’s voice is deep and expressive like Fred Neil with a weathered and worldly Americana sound like Joe South, pop songs that aren’t happy – but with filled with despair. The album is punctuated with a string section (that recalls David Axelrod), other times a Wurlitzer piano provides the driving groove (as if Memphis great Jim Dickinson was running the show). U.F.O. is a slice of American pop music filtered from the murky depths of Los Angeles, by way of the deep south.With no music industry contacts, the record went largely unnoticed, and Jim simply moved on, releasing a further album on the Playboy label in 1972. But by 1975, his marriage breaking up, Jim left, for Nashville and the promise of a new life as a sessioneer in the home of C&W. That’s where it gets hazy.We know he was stopped by cops for swerving on the highway in Santa Rosa, some 15 hours after setting off. We know he was taken to a local police station, found to be sober, and told to go to the local La Mesa Motel to get some rest, which he did. Some time later, his car was spotted on a ranch belonging to the local Genetti family, who confronted him about his business there. The next day his car was found 26 miles down the road, abandoned. His car and his hotel room contained, among other things, his twelve-string guitar, his wallet, his clothes and several copies of his second album, but no note, and no Jim. It was as if he had simply vanished into thin air.Jim’s family travelled out to join search parties looking for him, the local papers printed missing person stories, but the search proved fruitless. Around the same time, the local sheriff retired and the Genettis moved to Hawaii. Jim’s manager Robert “Buster” Ginter later stated that during the early morning hours of a long evening Jim and Buster were talking about what would you do if they had to disappear. Jim said he’d walk into the desert and never come back.Tracking down the truth behind Jim’s mystery became an obsession of Light In The Attic’s Matt Sullivan (no relation) when he happened upon a copy of the album and fell in love. He took on a cross country pilgrimage in search of master tapes and truth, and came back with neither, despite hundreds of phone calls, e-mails, letters, faxes, private detectives, telepathy, palm readings and meetings with Jim’s wife, son and producer. Thanks to superb digital mastering techniques, Light In The Attic is still able to present a clean, near perfect copy of Jim’s masterpiece for general consumption for the first time. Enjoy. And remember, beyond the mystery, there’s the music….
The sixties had started with the resonating bang of the Watts riots in Los Angeles. The streets of L.A. were lit up by structure fires that destroyed several homes and businesses. The riots lasted only six days but by the end of that tumultuous decade, another fire had been burning for some time.

Rock & roll was infiltrating the L.A. airwaves with the fury of a firestorm. By 1969, Los Angeles had become the mecca for rock music. Recording, producing, writing and collaborating is what most musicians and celebrities began doing throughout the sixties. Jim Sullivan had just gotten his foot in the door when he recorded his first album.

Jim Sullivan had just released his debut album titled U.F.O., in 1969. It was well received by many and catapulted Sullivan into the small limelight as he hung out with celebrities and other musicians. The album contained songs that Sullivan himself had written. Songs that talked about highways, U.F.Os, long travels and isolated deserts.

U.F.O

Shakin like a leaf on the desert heat,
his daddy’s got a bog that’s hard to beat
Bought me a ticket got a front row seat.
I’m checkin out the show with a glassy eye.
Looking at the sun dancing through the sky.
Did he come by UFO?

When listening to Sullivan’s music, you picture a hitchhike traveling the open country, singing and lamenting his blues away. But when you learn about Sullivan’s mysterious disappearance, the lyrics read more like a cryptic message or a prophecy that was about to be fulfilled.

Sullivan had left Los Angeles in 1975 and was headed for Nashville, Tennessee. He wanted to revive his career and had some newly developed prospects in Nashville. He never made it. The VW bug he had been traveling in was found just 26 miles from a broken-down motel in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. When police found the vehicle, the only thing that was left inside was Sullivan’s guitar.

To his friends and family, Sullivan leaving his guitar behind was something he would never do…….

There are those “lost” albums that are probably best left that way, and then there are gems such as this.

Sullivan was a West Coast contender and UFO was meant to be his moment. It didn’t come and, six years after UFO’s 1969 release, Sullivan had disappeared in mysterious circumstances. This, then, is that album’s first “proper” release and though it has its moments of hippy excess, the majority of the songs are down-the-line folk-country-rock classics, laced with Axelrod-like strings and an almost “Wichita Lineman”-like grace………

Tracklist

A1 Jerome
A2 Plain As Your Eyes Can See
A3 Roll Back The Tide
A4 Whistle Stop
A5 Rosey
B1 Highways
B2 U.F.O.
B3 So Natural
B4 Johnny
B5 Sandman

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