Originally published in "Shroom Talk" Magazine Issue #2, August, 2006.
|An online member who had also made a couple of similar records to mine and that of Ed Solomon,
came across a mention of my recording back in the early 2000. It was my sister who gave to me the lone single record.
The studio I recorded this record in apparently had gone out of business in downtown Chicago, Illinois, and the owner whose name today I cannot recall, had about 750 copies of the 45 RPM left in stock. I have no idea where those are today.
I found my record on the Internet on a list put together of records similar to mine, that is, novelty records that collectors refer to as Break records. So I contacted the person who put the list together and he in turn had told me that he had just bought a copy of the record and so he listed it in his collection of similar records that also included songs by Homer And Jethro, Jonathan Winters, etc. He also provided me with a contact number of another collector whom I emailed and this person was very kind to me and informed me that he too had made a few similar recordings but did not have a copy of my record. So a good shroomy friend in Seattle who worked a 7/11 store, something I did for a few years in the mid to late 1970s was able to take my scratchy record and with computer audio software was able to clean all the distortions and scratches off the record.
I corresponded with this person and sent him a cd of both sides of my recording and he in likewise sent me a copy of Ed Solomon's, "Beatles Flying Saucer" record, a recording that was similar to his earlier hit, The Flying Saucer Record, and also along with a copy of the Solomon single, the collector also gave me two free copies of his Beatles recordings which were similar to mine and that of Ed Solomon's record.
The only difference was is that I used the first two Beatle albums to make my single. The VJ Records 33-RPM album, "Introducing the Beatles" (1963)" and the Capitol Records album, "Meet the Beatles (1964).
Although below I explain how I came to make this recording, I had spent several years in Hollywood working in a recording studio for a man named James Welton. Mr. Welton owned a few publishing companies and rented studios at the old Los Angeles, Hollywood, KCOP channel 13 television studios at 1000 Cayhuanga Blvd off Santa Monica or Melrose Avenue.
It has been so long since 1962 to 1964 that I cannot recall the correct street name. Let me explain further.
I had been out of the US Army for several months and I use to take my Gibson guitar down to Selma and Vine to Music City and play for money on the street singing whatever songs I knew at the time. So one day I was walking down Normandy off of Hollywood Blvd where I lived in a one bedroom cottage and I had my guitar strung around my neck> I recall I was playing and singing with my Bob Dylan like-voice when this elderly man approached me and asked if I wrote music. I told him yes and so he introduced himself to me as James Welton, a producer and recording engineer and publisher of new songs. He made me an appointment to come to his studio where I met his head engineer, an African-American named Larry Johnson who had a label (Sonic Records).
So, during the next four to five years or so, Mr. Welton taught me how to record a record on one of his Ampex 350 recorders. I even created and made an echoplex device for him with a tape loop and eventually he put to music, four songs I had written, (1)Angel of Love, (2) Hey, Hey, Little Girl. (3)The Day the World Began [2 versions, one I wrote completely to which the music was set on paper by Mr. Welton, and a 2nd version, the lyrics co-authored by Ellen Farrel] and (4)Let Me Hold You in my Arms Tonight. The latter was a Dean Martin kind of song with a calypso-flaminco beat to it.
I also wrote a song sung to the tune of Bill Bailey called Poor Soldier, a song about the Vietnam war. It was a satyrical comedic natural lyrical masterpiece but I lost the original and over the years forgotten the lyrics I wrote. However, I was probably the first person to write an anti-war song about Vietnam war. There were 4 verses to the song which was sung by a boy and girl. In the 1st and third verses, a young soldiers wife bemoans that her husband is fighting a war that he should not be at, and then in the 2nd and 4th verses, the boy responds in turn to answer his wife's grieving questions. A 2nd song I wrote I had hoped would be the song to be featured as the flip-side of the first song was another questionable ditty called, "I Believe."
When I think of the that title, I think of the original song called "I Believe" as sung by Frankie Laine and others, not the American Idol song that Fantasia sang on American Idol.
I was very controversial even before my true shroom calling occurred in the early 1970s. At the end of the song, "I believe," the boy shoots himself in the head.
You only hear his words of sorrow, and then a gunshot goes off and the record is over. I once offered the song to Sonny and Cher, and I was informed by them that the subject matter of both songs was too heavy for the times. So, unfortunately they never were published or recorded and as I noted above, I actually forgot the last two verses of my Vietnamese War Protest song. Both I Believe and Poor Soldier are posted in my song section.
In 1967, I hitch-hiked with 17-other hippies across America from Los Angeles and got out in New Orleans and left my book of every poem and song I had writeen since I was 13-years-old. I never found another copy anywhere in my belongings. Recently, I tried to find Mr. Welton through my contact with a long-time ago friend, Peter Ford. Peter is the son of actors Glenn Ford and Tap-Dance Queen, Eleanor Powel, both of whom were at one time, the number one box office film stars in Hollywood for many years. Eleanor Powell gave up her career to upbring her son. While Peter and I were good friends, over the years we lost contact with one another.
Peter Ford also did some acting and then later became an LA county sheriff's photographer. A few years back, I looked Peter Ford up on the Internet and told him I was trying to find the whereabouts of Mr. Welton's Estate. Peter offered to help find out where James Welton's estate went to after his death and noted in an email to me that he had friends that might be able to locate the name and address of where his belongings might be at.
Peter also inquired as to how I had been these past 40 or so years since we last seen one another because I had no contact with him after he returned to college from California to Lake Forest, Illinois in the mid to late 1960s. I sent him a package of cd's and some of my art.
Before Peter went back to school in the midwest, I threw a goping away party for him by spending my Federal extention of 13 unemployment checks to rent the building now known as the Comedy Club. I bought massive liquor and hired a band, and his father and Connie Stevens came to visit him and wish him well on his journey.
Earlier in the year I had applied for a 13-week Federal extension on my unemployment benifits and lo and behold, after about four months of waiting, I received a single check for the entire 13-weeks of extended benifits I was due.
I used that money to throw that party for him, something I never told him and I was broke for several months, causing me to hitch-hike back to Chicago where I recorded Mighty the Squirrel.
I did all the engineering on my own. The roar of the crowd at the beginning of the record was recorded by me at the Beatles first Chicago Concert at the Chicago Stock Yards Arena, and I also recorded earlier, the jet taking off from the LA airport. I did all the splicing and editing, and used, as noted above, the first two Beatle Albums and that is how I made the record. Infortunately, I also went in other directions. The nice young adult who sent me the Ed Solomon "Beatles Flying Saucer" recording also sent me two records he made. A note in regards to the Solomon record and two other recordings is that on my record, all the voices are of John, Paul George and Ringo, whereas, the Solomon record and other two not only used Beatle lines from their records, but also used other pop stars lines on their records by singers and groups other than the Beatles. In 2007, my website was hijacked by another mushroom website that I no longer endorse or participate in. So I had my server in England delete my whole website and I rebuilt it page by page and section by section and upgraded it from 13,000 photographs to now more than 15,000 photographs. I also added many new articles on shrooms, and several new sections on shroom hunters, habitats, and locations around the world, and then earlier this year, Quest High Speed Internet accidentally deleted a lot of software when they ran some kind of anti-malware on my computer and defragmented it, something I never did. It moved folders off the desktop that I was working on into folders in other locations on my computer and caused pixelations on thousands of photos that were compressed by a JPEG Compressor and one upgrade. When The High Speed was turned on, all my software disappeared. So last week I am still finding damaged photos on my computer and my site, and yesterday, Sept 20, 2011 I learned that my record only played 6 seconds on side one and that side 2 did not play at all. So I looked this morning in the Cute FTP and found that side one failed to upload past a few kbs of space and that Side two did not even get connected to my site. So I just spent an hour trying to figure out how to resend them and now you know more than I do. The records are now here and play when clicked on the red x boxes on the page. Why the photos did not post is another mystery in my life. Maybe later I can find the original image of Mighty the Squirrel. I want to put my record to Napster to sell as a collectors item because I have seen copies for sale on Ebay at $200 dollars and upwards. I know my lazy brother has about 20 copies, my uncle who died a few years ago had 50 copies and the lawyers, of which I had no knowledge of, sold all my uncles estate when he passed away. So went the records. He had 100 copies new. And so did my co producer, John Bukovitch, one time Manager of the Avalon Theater in Old Town, Chicago who put up $50 dollars of the money to record and for 5% of the profits. It did get local play in ' Chicago, and in Montreal and Los Angeles and a little airplay on the east coast. What irks me is that months later, Ed Solomon released his record and he sold a few copies, quite a lot more than mine. I also managed several singers while I worked at my friends studio in Hollywood and I am not giving up on getting a copy of my four songs back from whomever owns Mr, Welton's thousands of published materials. Since I am almost 70-years-old, I know he must have died years ago. He also had a home in Silver Lake, but someone inherited his publishing business after his death, another date I have no inkling of. So enjoy the record. John W. Allen, aka Johhny York.