November 1967, London
So much is happening in this amazing year for soul music in Britain. In addition to my personal challenges (with boyfriend #1 Franklin and then boyfriend #2 William who is still around as the year winds down), working at Soul City, Britain’s 1st record store to sell only American R&B, definitely puts me in the vanguard of dedicated champions for soul music and its creators!
The opportunity to meet some of the artists whose recordings are the soundtrack of my life, still in my teens, is incredible. It’s through another loyal soul music lover, my dear friend Enid (who has been there through all my trials and tribulations as I traverse the twists and turns of relationships) that I meet P.P. Arnold for whom Enid runs a UK fan club while I’m still running the UK appreciation society for Nina Simone.
Pat, as she’s affectionately known to friends and colleagues, has been in London for a short while when we meet. She’s left the Ike & Tina Turner as an Ikette during their visit to London and deciding with the encouragement of a certain Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones to stay in Britain. Her 1st record, “The First Cut Is The Deepest” is a massive hit in the UK and Europe and its lyrics are so in sync with my own experience of love-gone-bad that it becomes an absolute favourite of mine and during my brief return to working at the John Menzies shop in May, I sell lots of copies.
Enid invites me to see Pat live at one of the many gigs she’s doing in London to promote ‘First Cut’ and she’s dynamic and soulful! Little do I know that seeing P.P. Arnold in action and meeting after the show will actually be the start of a lifelong friendship that continues for more than five decades and that the truly cosmic nature of my soul music/soul connections is such that I’ll bring in 2020 celebrating New Year’s Eve with Pat in Spain, a testament to the enduring bonds that true soul music creates for which I stay grateful