August 11, 2014
The only thing I like about The Dave Clark Five is Denis Payton, their tenor and baritone sax player. It’s easy to find Dave Clark recordings on I-Tunes, but of course it is preferable to find the recordings on the original vinyl. There is one outstanding track of the Five called “Time, ” which features Payton as a solo player. I don’t know much about this tune, but it almost sounds like a Stan Getz song - and it has to be one of those pieces that were made in great haste as a b-side to some smasher-o a-side. Nevertheless it’s not easy to locate the sounds of the Five, due to the control that Dave Clark has over his material or to be more precise, the music of the Dave Clark Five. One wonders why someone would want to hoard the music to such a great degree, but perhaps it is something that is very precious to him. Or maybe he feels he can drain more money out of the dying music business. I always suspect that he pretty much stole his sound from the great Joe Meek recordings from the early 60s. The sad thing is the case that the work becomes a shadow of an era, instead of what it naturally is - a piece of music.
The control of one’s image by someone else is a very natural thing to be done. Whatever it is your work, or worst yet, a family member, it’s an uphill battle because you want to do the right thing, but sometimes you are only getting in the way of what is interesting about that person. Peter Folger, who was part of the Folger (coffee) family spent a great deal of his time protecting his daughter, Abigail from the damning articles or books about the Tate-LaBianca murders, which resulted in very little information about her and her life. Which is a shame, because it sounds like she was a very wonderful person. I rather know her as a living person, than as a dead victim, who by all accounts was at the wrong place at the wrong time - or maybe at the right place that was intruded upon people who were clearly wrong being there. Nevertheless I found it interesting that she had an interest in the arts -especially poetry and the theater. She was a debutante from San Francisco, who wore a bright yellow Christian Dior gown that she had purchased in Paris some years before the debutante ball. The interesting thing about her was her devotion to the issue of civil rights as well as the art world. She took a job at the University of California Art Museum in Berkeley as a publicity director.
In 1967, Abigail moved to New York and found a job as a clerk at the Gotham Book Mart on 47th Street. When I worked at Book Soup, I met the most amazing people, that I still remain in contact with, and some went off and became huge stars, writers, or … dead. Nevertheless each one had a profound effect on my life, and I just try to imagine what it would have been like to work with Abigail at the Gotham. Would we discuss Frank O’Hara, or maybe she liked French poetry. I imagine her more of being a fan of the New York School of poetry (whatever that is). The thing is there is very little information about her. We don’t know what her taste in music, books were and yet we do know that she was devoted to the art form of literature and music. All we know are the facts, such that she met the author Jerzy Kosinski at the bookstore and he introduced her to Wojciech Frykowski, a fellow Pole, and a bit of an adventurer. The perfect boyfriend for this New Yorker, who can only communicate fully to each other in French. Frykowski wanted to move to Southern California, hopefully to work with his good friend Roman Polanski, or at least hoping that would happen. Abigail decided to move with him to Los Angeles, where she wanted to be a social worker. Of course, things didn’t work out well.
I want to know more of Abigail as well as Denis Payton, but alas, due to a certain amount of controlling one’s history and the passing of time, it now becomes a world of shadows. As I have stated before, I ‘m OK in that world. I got the Dave Clark Five’s very rare album that came out only in Canada (of all places) called “Instrumental Album.” It has the Payton sound of sax sounding like metal against metal. It’s raw. I find it beautiful. There are certain instrumentalists who totally dominates a sound, and the only other person who can do that is Jah Wobble, with his bass on PIL’s “Metal Box.” In memory of Abigail Folger and Denis Payton, whose birthday, I’m celebrating today.