Friday, April 10, 2020

Disappearing acts

Before Boy Azooga brightened up lockdown by releasing their feathersoft, fluffily psych cover of 'UFO' (complete with 'Sabotage'-indebted video set in and around Cardiff), I must confess to having never heard of Jim Sullivan. It turns out his is a fascinating story: an LA-based singer-songwriter who recorded a couple of albums and befriended Hollywood stars but who in 1975, beset by alcoholism and marital problems, decided to try his luck in Nashville, only to disappear off the face of the earth before reaching Music City.

Learning the details, I was instantly reminded of Connie Converse, the subject of a song on Ramshackle Tabernacle, the 2017 LP from one of my favourite Oxfordshire bands The August List. Converse, a singer-songwriter who lived and played in and around New York and Michigan in the 1950s and 1960s, found herself disillusioned and depressed in the early 1970s, and so in 1974 - the year before Sullivan - left home in pursuit of a new life. Whether she found it, no one knows - she was never heard of again.

In an odd quirk of fate, both Sullivan and Converse were driving Volkswagen Beetles when they vanished. One for the conspiracy theorists, perhaps. What I do know, though, is that it's inadvisable to spend long reading through Wikipedia's missing persons lists late at night - quite a downer, I can assure you.

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