January 1968, London

Soul City, the record shop I co-own with Dave Godin and Robert Blackmore is doing a little better after the move to 17 Monmouth St in the heart of London’s theatre district. Dave has been talking to Robert and I about starting our own label as a natural evolution of the shop, dedicated to releasing musical gems that have gained little or no attention in Britain. I’m not 100% sold on the idea: we’re still just about making a living but Dave feels that having our own label will be another stream of revenue for us along the dedicated soul music buyers who are supporting our efforts. The precarious nature of our finances is evident to me since I’m the one who has to deal with the British distributors like EMI, Polydor, Decca and Pye who threaten to cut off supplies of UK releases when we are late paying the bills which means we’re not getting great new records like Robert Knight’s “Everlasting Love”!  The dreaded calls from the companies to put us on ‘stop’ (meaning no more deliveries until they get paid!) are always handed to me by Mr. Godin!

Meanwhile, I’m just about hanging in there with boyfriend William while dealing with the stress of working with Dave and Robert (who are often quarrelling as it’s now evident that their relationship is definitely not platonic!)… I’ll be celebrating my 20th birthday in February and hoping for brighter days….maybe Brenton Wood’s new UK charted single “Gimme Little Sign” will be an indicator of my year ahead…

Oh and a PS for Aretha Franklin fans.. please read post #53 which has been amended, with a reprint of my first ever article for Blues & Soul, October 1967 written under the pseudonym ‘Simon Frazier’!