August 1965, Littlehampton, England
I’m now ‘in’ with ‘in crowd’ of young Brits whose love of American R&B artists is expressed through fan clubs created for for Irma Thomas, Otis Redding, Don Covay, although Nina Simone, for whom I’ve started an ‘Appreciation Society’ is not exactly an R&B artist. I’m still in school, the youngest of the group. I go on a beach outing created by Gloria Marcantonio of the Dionne Warwick & Shirelles Fan Club. That’s me and Gloria in the black-and-white pic!
Someone has a portable battery-run record player and puts on a US import LP. I hear my favourite song, “Walk On By.” It’s not Dionne singing! ‘Who’s THAT?’ I ask as I am completely floored by the emotion of the singer. ‘That’s Ar-etha Franklin’ (then mispronounced rather than ‘Aree-that’!). I remember Nina’s comment to me at the airport in June recommending I check out Aretha’s music – I’m now hooked!