(7" single, Penthouse 501, 1966)
Arranged by FZ (uncredited)
(7" single, Penthouse 503, August 8, 1966)
H & R Studios, LA
June 21, 1966
Produced by Norm Ratner
Arranged by FZ
Robert West—guitar, bass
Gene Estes—drums, timpani
Another regular occurrence were the "love ins" that happened mostly at Griffith Park, this was where I got to know Frank Zappa, because he'd show up just about everywhere and play. That is how he became known in the beginning. Try to imagine a time before Frank Zappa was famous, that's what I'm talking about. Before "Mothers Of Invention". Frank would show up at the Whiskey A Go Go if he could or a parking lot gig, which he did. He'd just show up and play and that's how he got noticed. I would pretty much go to all the same places, so we just got used to seeing each other and started talking. I liked Frank and he liked me and we decided that we ought to make a record together, in fact we made more than one.
[...] After "Vietnam" Randy [Wood] got involved with the distribution of a new label called Penthouse Records that was started by Ken Handler and Norm Ratner. [...] I made 2 records for Penthouse. The first was "Reconsider Baby", which I had written after hearing Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves A Women". This is when I went to Zappa and asked him to work on the record with me, he agreed without a hitch, because amongst other things, Frank was a musician and an arranger. He was a Union member and he did dates, so I got Penthouse to hire Frank to work on "Reconsider Baby". Frank did everything. I played him the song and told him about the Percy Sledge record and he understood completely. He put together the band, got the girl backup singers, The Dixie Cups (I could be wrong on the name) and he wrote all the charts. He basically arranged and produced it, but received no label credit at all from Penthouse, who printed on the label that the record was produced by Handler and Ratner, which is bunk, they did shit. Frank and I made the record along with the players and other singers. [...]
06/21/66 (9:30PM-12:30AM) H. & R. Studios, Hollywood—Girl From The East; Roogalator (final title: Gotta Find My Roogalator)
MUSICIANS: FZ (leader and arranger), Benjamin Barrett (OM), Louis Morell (guitar), Robert West (guitar, bass), Lawrence Knechtel (piano), Gene Estes (drums, tympani), Carol Kaye (guitar), John Guerin (drums), Billy Hughes (copyist), R.D. McMickle, Robert Gibson (copyist), Russell Brown (copyist)
I talked to Frank about doing another record and told him Handler was sorry for not giving him credit on "Reconsider Baby". Frank really didn't seem to care all that much about it, but I assured him he'd get credit if we did anything else. I asked Frank to listen to "Gotta Find My Roogalator" and he liked the song. He said he knew exactly who he would use on the session. Who he chose to use on "Roogalator", became known as the "Wrecking Crew". They were, Louis Morell on guitar, Carol Kaye on guitar, Larry Knechtel on piano, Gene Estes on drums, and Jon Guerin on drums. Frank played guitar and arranged the song. In reality, Frank and I produced the record, but of course were not given credit, but Frank was at least credited as the arranger. We recorded it at HRT Studios and got a good sound out of that room. Another song was cut with it, which has never been released, and that was my song "Girl From The East" off the Chris Lucey album. It has never been used, so that is why "Low Down Funky Blues" is the b side of both "Reconsider Baby" and "Gotta Find My Roogalator". I must not have been too happy with the way "Girl From The East" came out, or it would have been the b side of "Roogalator". "Low Down Funky Blues" was just a song I made up on the spot for the b side of "Reconsider Baby" when we cut that record, it got reused as the b side for "Roogalator", because we had a shortage of songs that I was willing to use. This is the best recollection I have of how that happened. Someday I will release "Girl From The East" by me and Frank.
I've recently contacted Carol Kaye and I asked her if she remembered something about "Gotta Find My Roogalator" by Bobby Jameson. She says she didn't play on it adding "the feel isn't right".
Photo (c) 1999 Robert Carl Cohen
Bobby Jameson, like Vito et al, became part of MONDO by fulfilling one or more of the three required criteria: 1. Be typically Hollywood (ie trying to live-out a dream self-image in the LA Area) 2. Or be very WEIRD, or 3. Be both 1. and 2. (I may also still have interview tapes with him) [...]. There are several good scenes of him which were cut from the release version of MONDO. I met him at Pacific Jazz Records in 1965-66 through the late Phil Turetsky.
Originally I was only going to use the visuals of his recording session of his song "Viet Nam," but after filming the session silent I was told by Phil that he'd decided not to release the tune, and I could use it in the film. So I had to lip read the silent shots of the recording session to try and cut it to match Jameson's words in the song. Difficult since it wasn't shot with that it mind, but it worked out ok.
It was early 1966 and a lot of things happened in that year. When "Vietnam" was recorded with The Leaves, Bob Cohen, filmed it for a movie he was making called "Mondo Hollywood". I never thought much about it at the time, it was just something I did, because somebody asked if I wanted to be in a movie and I said, "yeah ok," It was just about that simple. I signed a release form, not a contract, but a release form saying it was ok to show me in the movie and use my songs. "Wham Bam Thank You Mam," kind of stuff. You would have to get Bob Cohen to show you the piece of paper and I do mean piece (1) of paper. They put out a soundtrack album and I got nothing and they're still selling the movie and I get nothing. So who knows what that little piece of paper says?
[...] I had moved out of Lois Johnston's house again and was going out with a girl I'd met at "The Trip" on Sunset Blvd. It was a new rock n roll club on the strip and she was a cocktail waitress there, her name was Gail Sloatman. If you ever watched "Mondo Hollywood", an depending on which version you watch, there is a scene at the beach where I am with a girl, that's Gail, I drive away with that girl in a Corvette.
Bobby Jameson also appeared on the Mondo Hollywood soundtrack album.
(Tower T-5083, 1967)
1. The Mugwump Establishment—Mondo Hollywood (City Of Dreams)
2. Mike Clifford—The Magic Night
3. Davie Allan and The Arrows—Moonfire
4. The Riptides—Last Wave Of The Day
5. Bobby Jameson—Vietnam
1. God Pan—Great God Pan
2. Darrell Dee—You're Beautiful
3. 18th Century Concepts—Magic Night March
4. Teddy and Darrell—Beast Of Sunset Strip
5. The Mugwump Establishment—Mondo Hollywood Freakout
I started going up to Zappa's house in Laurel Canyon and writing songs on his living room floor after Frank and me made a couple of records together. Most of what I wrote there was a lot of stuff used in the making of "Color Him In" though at the time I had no idea that would be the case. I just liked hanging around with Frank because all either of us did was work all the time.
We didn't talk a lot, because we were busy doing stuff and were both comfortable with that arrangement. But on one particular day Frank did want to talk and it was about my girlfriend Gail. Gail use to go with me to Frank's and just hang out while we were working on music or Frank's film. I knew she and Frank got along well and that was fine with me. That afternoon when he asked if he could talk to me about something it was different than all the other times Frank and I had been together.
I could tell it was important to him so I really gave it my full attention. Like I said, it was about Gail. I could see he was having a tough time getting to the point and I realized it was because he didn't feel too comfortable bringing up the subject. "I know Gail's your girlfriend," he said, "but I wanted to know how serious you were about her?" "I don't know Frank," I answered, "I just kind a hang around with her you know. I don't think I'm too serious about her other than we just like to hang out, why?"
"Well," said Frank, "I really like her and I don't want to cause you any problems, so I thought I better ask you about it and..." "Hey man, no problem," I said, "If that's all it is don't worry about it. You can do whatever you want. I'm not gonna be bothered by it." Frank stared at me for a second or two and then said,"Really?" "Really man," I said, "it's OK. If you like her and she likes you then whatever you guys decide to do is fine with me." He seemed immediately relieved and that was all that was ever said about it.
Gail was living with me up at the house off Woodrow Wilson Drive, where all the LSD was being sold. I don't think I ever remember Gail getting loaded much. She just happened to be around people like me who did. I had a bedroom at the house, with a bathroom attached that was directly across the hall from the front door. On one particular night Gail was in the bedroom and I had gone into the bathroom to write.
I used to sit up on the sink. It was big, and I'd lean against the wrap around mirrors in there and write lyrics. On this one night I dropped some acid and was waiting for it to kick in. While I was noticing the first waves of getting loaded, I heard this loud pounding on the front door about 12 feet from where I was sitting. The next thing I heard was a huge crash coming from the hall outside the bathroom where I was starting to hallucinate.
I jumped off the sink and went through the door to the bedroom where Gail was now standing at attention, it appeared, and staring wide eyed at something. The look on her face was fear, but I didn't know about what. I was hallucinating so much at that point I couldn't figure out what was going on. I heard something like yelling, but I couldn't make out what it was or where it was coming from. I just kept moving around the room trying to put the pieces together when all of a sudden I heard clearly, "Stop moving or I'm going to kill you!"
I looked in the direction of the sound and into the barrel of a 12 guage police riot gun which was aimed at my face. The guy with the shotgun was shaking and yelling for me to quit moving. If you can imagine, try to think what a 12 guage shotgun barrel looks like when you're hallucinating on LSD. All at once reality slammed back into my consciousness. We were in the middle of a drug bust and this guy was an undercover plain clothes narc! Fuck! What a trip!
I was hallucinating like a son-of-a-bitch and was in the middle of a drug bust with a guy about to shoot me. Finally I stopped moving. I stood deadly still at that point and glanced over at Gail who looked like she was gonna have a heart attack. This was one of the worst nights of my life and I'm sure hers too. It went on for hours while about 14 cops went through everything in that house.
I sat handcuffed on the floor and just tried to keep remembering what was happening and that I was on a drug. I kept saying to myself over and over again, "Don't lose it Bobby, don't freak out or these guy's are gonna kill you. Keep it together man, keep it together." I think that was the last time I saw Gail until the 70's when I ran into her and Frank at a recording studio. She was then Gail Zappa, and wanted nothing to do with me.
"COLOR HIM IN" was recorded in 1966 with CURT BOETTCHER and was released on Verve Records in 1967. Curt and I met at the offices of OUR PRODUCTIONS, which had just had a hit called "AND ALONG COMES MARY". [...] CURT BOETTCHER and I went through the songs I had written and decided on the final selections for the album "COLOR HIM IN". The record was picked up by VERVE RECORDS, thanks to FRANK ZAPPA'S input to TOM WILSON, who produced "THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION" along with FRANK ZAPPA for VERVE RECORDS.
It was my relationship with Frank Zappa that led to the album being released on Verve Records which Frank and "The Mothers Of Invention" were on. I have always assumed that Frank felt he owed me something because of my openness with him regarding Gail. I was never a problem for Frank, and his intervention regarding "Color Him In" and Verve, was his way of saying thanks. It was Frank who asked Tom Wilson to take a personal interest in "Color Him In" which Tom did. So you see, even the deal itself with Verve was handed to Steve Clark. He didn't have to go out and shop the record. The label came to him via my friendship with Frank.