Friday, December 01, 2006

Jim Sullivan "U.F.O." (US SSW 1970)

by Reynaldo:
I picked this LP up on eBay three years ago after hearing a different version of it during a listening session in the apartment of a San Francisco record dealer. I made note of the artist and label and plugged that info into my eBay "Favorite Searches" list when I got home. A couple weeks later, I received two saved searches e-mails announcing new items found for "Jim Sullivan" and "Century City." Following the links brought me to a listing for a "rare private '70 folky outsider" record by Jim Sullivan titled U.F.O. on Monnie records. That, of course, was not the record I was looking for or expecting to see listed, but I went ahead and read the description, hoping that it would aid me some way in my search. It's a good thing I did, because the seller?sonray66?was musically knowledgeable enough to note in the description that Jim Sullivan's U.F.O. album contained the same songs as those on his self-titled album on Century City (the record I was looking for). If the seller hadn't mentioned that, I may have never discovered this gem.

Thinking that it would contain the same exact same music, I spent the next two years looking for the Century City press of the album; but when I finally got a hold of a copy, what I immediately noticed upon hearing it was that the drums, percussion and bass were moved way back in the mix and made quieter, while Sullivan's vocals and guitar were brought to the forefront?as perhaps they should have been for the more official release.

The differences between most of the songs on the two albums are striking: the Monnie versions sound like lost Axelrod sessions with Earl Palmer on drums and steroids, while the Century City versions are more subdued and in line with how a singer/songwriter/folk album is "supposed to" sound?which I guess is fine for those who don't particularly enjoy being slapped upside the head by Earl Palmer's snares, or for those who want to hear the intricacies of Sullivan's vocals and guitar work instead of percussion. While I can definitely understand and appreciate that point of view, there's still something magical about the sound achieved on U.F.O.?the way the drums punch holes through the mix of sounds to assert their dominance, turning a standard folk album into something one of a kind.

As for the rarity of U.F.O., from everything I can tell, it is an extremely difficult record to turn up. I’ve been patiently waiting for another copy to show up on eBay?so I can upgrade my VG+ copy?but I have yet to see one listed, and searches for “Jim Sullivan - U.F.O.” still stump google, suggesting that the record is still fairly far under the radar (not for long, I suppose).

Regardless of whether U.F.O. was a "mistake" that needed to be corrected in order to shift the listeners' attention from the drummer to the main artist, or a masterpiece that was remixed and watered down slightly for the sake of salability, to me, the album is a unique and powerful work of music that has stood up after countless listens and that must be heard, which is why I want to share it with you in its entirety. See below for full album audio and song lyrics, and enjoy the Jim Sullivan U.F.O. experience.

Jim Sullivan - Vocals, Guitar
Earl Palmer - Drums
Don Randi - Keyboards
Jimmy Bond - String Bass
Lyle and Max - Fender Bass
Jimmy Bond - Arrangements and Production
Jerry Dumas and Jim Pewter - Co-Producers
Peter Abbot and Richard - Engineers

Sample pic: Click


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Lizardson,
this release is great, thank You for it :)

19 March, 2009 16:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you!

05 April, 2009 18:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, thought you all might be interested in the mysterious story of Jim Sullivan and the impending re-release of UFO:

02 July, 2010 10:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks very much !!

11 October, 2010 09:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks so much

15 November, 2010 03:29  
Anonymous matt said...


I noticed the post about the Jim Sullivan record on your Time Has Told Me blog

I'm writing to you from a small Seattle-based label called Light In The Attic.  We reissue long lost gems from the past.  All of us here are big fans of your blog.  One of the best out there.  

We've spent the last two years working on a reissue of Jim's U.F.O. album, interviewing Jim's family in San Diego, Jimmy Bond and Don Randi from the Wrecking Crew, the album's Executive Producer Al Dobbs, and many other friends and associates involved in Jim's music career.  It's been a long journey putting this project together and properly licensing it from the Monnie/Century City label owners and Jim's family.  Earlier this week we released the album on CD and Download (vinyl will be out next month).  Everyone here at Light In The Attic along with Jim's family are incredibly excited about Jim's music finally being available again.  Now that the album is out we would greatly appreciate it if you could remove the download link from your site.  We'd be happy if you put up a download to one song. 

My wife and I, along with a good friend recently traveled to New Mexico to retrace Jim's last known whereabouts and then visited JIm's family in San Diego.  Here's a video that we made along the way -

Thanks for the understanding and keep up the amazing work, 


20 November, 2010 15:34  
Anonymous Zozo said...

Has anyone got a rip of the Playboy records release?

31 December, 2010 03:22  
Anonymous BillW said...

^^ Matt, loved your journey. Thanks so much for telling Jim's story.

Also, I am DYING to get mp3's of his self-titled Playboy release. Anyone?

19 January, 2011 06:39  
Anonymous Searching for Sullivan said...

I love Light in the Attic, and everyone should buy their Jim rerelease, but I still feel everyone has a right to the music. Here is UFO, in full.

Also, I just ordered his Playboy Records release from Korea, and will be ripping and posting that online ASAP.


21 June, 2012 07:35  
Anonymous BillW said...


04 July, 2012 03:30  
Anonymous Rob said...

Thanks for the link to the Playboy album! Listening now...

11 April, 2014 16:03  
Blogger jimmy kraktov said...

Just read about Jim and his much too short career. We'll likely never know what happened to him. Just downloaded from the two links here and if I owe anyone a royalty let me know.

09 November, 2015 13:07  

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