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Some Jupp confusions resolved

Frans Steenmsa

There seems to be some confusion about one of the most collectable singles for Procoholics, Georgia George Part 1 / July by Legend recorded at Central Sound in Denmark Street, London and released 24 October 1969 (Bell BLL 1082).

The most interesting aspects of this vinyl single are:

At the same time Procol was in a state of turmoil. Fisher and Knights had done their last gig with the band (+ orchestra: Procol's first try) at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario (Canada) and only Brooker, Trower & Wilson were left.

Brooker went on holiday to Rome (see here) Trower had to look after his newborn baby (the reason they declined to appear at Woodstock) and Wilson was busy playing drums on Leon Russell's first album. No wonder the news of the split wasn't made public!

It wasn't until December when Rolling Stone published this news snippet (27 December 1969): 'Procol Harum's just about had it, with organist Matthew Fisher and bassist David Knights having split ...' Keith Reid reacted to this a year later in his own inimitable way: 'We were supposed to have broken up last year when Matthew left. It merited about two lines in Rolling Stone magazine. It was just like: 'Oh, that group that done this and that has broken up a million times has finally broken up. That's all it was. They said ... we had really broken up then. That was the importance it was, for what we have done! That was the importance it meant ...' (from the Procol promo A&M album, Procol Lives ..., 1971).

Back to the single ...

After one album and one gig Mickey Jupp (ex-Orioles, who were named by Gary Brooker) had split up the first Legend line-up, but was still contracted by Bell, so through David Knights, his newly found manager, he approached Matthew Fisher and BJ Wilson. Jupp had already approached his mate from the 1965 Orioles line-up, Mo Witham (guitar).

The line-up for Georgia George Part 1 / July both sides written by Jupp was complete: Jupp (vocals), Witham (guitar), Fisher (bass) & Wilson (drums). His old friend Robin Trower had offered to produce the session.

'Robbie' (not Robin at the time) Trower was the one who got Mickey (ex-Black Diamonds) his position as pianist in The Orioles drummer Tony Diamond was the singer in late 1963; he took care that they could play each Wednesday at his father's club (The Shades in Southend) and that they could take over The Paramounts' Sunday residency at the Shades club in 1964.

When Trower had his own blues trio early 1967 (The Jam) Jupp rehearsed with them. And it was Trower who encouraged Jupp to get going again after Legend Mk 1 had split up.

Mickey: 'Robbie Trower rang me up and said to come up, that David Knights was just leaving Procol Harum and wanted to get into management. We discussed one or two things and got Legend 2 together.'

Back to the single again. Both songs are typically Jupp (as we know so well from the 1978 Brooker-produced Juppanese album). Simple stories (Georgia George, a local guitar-player makin' good what happened to Part 2? and July, about a lost summer romance) with BJ's drumming well to the fore and some backing vocals by Mo & Matthew (?), wrapped in a crisp production by Trower and engineer Freddie Winrose.

Trower obviously liked his first production job, because when he was interviewed for Robin Copping's Home documentary he stated: 'I hope to go into producing records. I want to be able to produce a whole sound, not just take a group and make sure their sound gets on tape. I want to get it all out of my head my way. I like to write the number, get a singer to sing it and arranging the whole thing everything.'

The confusion about this single probably arises from BtP's story by Mikael Werkelin on Jupp, and a Stiff compilation, Mickey Jupp's Legend (GET2, 1978), which contains Georgia George Part 1.

In the liner notes the line-up for this track mentions Gary Brooker on piano (there's no piano to be heard), Chris Copping on bass and BJ Thomas (!) on drums.

Rubbish! When I approached Matthew Fisher a couple of years ago he stated (in writing) that 'a guy called Mo was on guitar', Gary was not on the session and Matthew himself played bass. I hope this erases all confusion about this collector's item.

Chris Copping couldn't have been on the session as the first time he played with Procol live was during the Rolling Stones Christmas Show at the London Lyceum, 21 December 1969 (two shows) more than three months after the recording of the Legend single.

For Procoholics only: Copping's first public appearance with the band as a four-piece was on German TV (15 December 1969) when the Bob Rooyens directed Dusty Springfield Show (special guests: Procol Harum) was shown (Procol played Whisky Train probably for the first time Copping on bass in green (!) trousers.

Thanks, Frans!

More Jupp / Procol connections

A Procol Harum legend

More writings at BtP from Frans Steensma

 Mickey Jupp homepage

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