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Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Bit More On "Catch My Soul"

It's always a pleasure getting feedback on a Dreamtime article, and we got a ton on our recent one about the Jerry Lee Lewis/Shakespeare connection.

One of the bloggers over at WFMU's great Beware of the Blog posted about Catch My Soul, inspired, as we were, by Mr. D's double-billing of Lewis during the Blood and War shows. As well as supplying a link to Dreamtime (thank you), writer Clinton McClung also came across a reference to an academic paper by a Dr. Robert Sawyer on the play.  While the article is not on-line, I've emailed the author and asked for a copy.  Stay tuned.

Most of the emails we received asked again about the possibility of a complete recording of Catch My Soul.  If such a recording exists, it doesn't appear to be in general circulation among collectors.  But the two cuts from the Catch My Soul rehearsal sessions at least provide the hope that there's a complete Catch My Soul stored away somewhere that may eventually see the light of day.

According to a Jerry Lee fan forum (registration required), Graham Knight, a friend of Lewis' who was at the L.A. run, has said that the Catch My Soul live show was piped into the performers' dressing rooms so that they could hear their cue to go on stage. Knight also reported that there were TV cameras at the rehearsals, as well as video from a fixed balcony camera fed to a screen in each dressing room, leading to the possibility that there is a full audio recording of Catch My Soul, perhaps even a video.

A member of the same forum also posted a scan of the original Catch My Soul playbill, the interior of which you can see above.  Contrary to what I wrote in my original article, the play only ran for a few weeks, from March 5th to April 13th 1968, rather than months.

And yet another late (I'm writing this paragraph on December 23) correction.  Rather than Peter Brock, who I listed in the original article, the role of Othello was actually played by William Marshall. While I would like to blame Nick Tosches for the mistake, it's my own, having misread the relevant paragraph from Tosches' book, Hellfire.

Interestingly, the playbill lists "The Blossoms," which I suspect are the ladies posing with Jerry Lee in the photo to your left, as part of the cast.  Sometimes called "the most successful unknown group of the '60s," The Blossoms made a career of singing backup for artists ranging from Paul Anka through Patty Duke to Elvis Presley.  At the time of Catch My Soul, the trio's lineup included Darlene Love, she of Phil Spector fame.  Also listed on the playbill is Gloria Jones, another one-time member of The Blossoms, who later struck out on a solo career, recording the original version of Tainted Love.   The Blossoms almost certainly were recruited by producer Jack Good thanks to their stint as regular cast members on Good's Shindig!

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