October 1967, London

The month ends victoriously! Aretha Franklin – who has been a real presence in my life since the Saturday morning in the spring of 1966 when I got a letter from her in reply to the one I sent to her c/o her father’s church in Detroit and then in December of the same year, being the first person in Britain ever to speak with her – is celebrating an amazing first year of incredible success at Atlantic Records! Her last 45 of 1967 is the stunning ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ and I can’t stop playing it for our customers at Soul City.

Aretha is also the subject of the very first article I ever write for the-then monthly magazine ‘Blues & Soul,’ founded by John Abbey which has morphed out of his previous publication, ‘Home Of The Blues.’ My article on Aretha appears in the very first issue of ‘Blues & Soul’ – but not under my name! For reasons lost in the mists of time, Dave Godin does not want me writing for the mag so I invent an alias – Simon Frazier! It’s the only time ‘Simon’ writes an article!!  (See the pic)….

I begin contributing to ‘Blues & Soul’ in the months ahead and Dave himself starts his own column in the increasingly popular mag. Little do I know then how much my whole destiny will be tied in to my association with ‘Blues & Soul,’ including what will be the first two decades of my life in America starting in 1975…