Richard Coble writes:
Robert, Mary, Me and two people we don't know in Hong Kong.I think the tall guy was the Promoter. I thought the guy in glasses was Mick before he changed his image and started to wear contacts. Hahaha!
I was in Jamaica recently. I have many colleagues in the music industry working for many years in the business including producing records in the 90's on a small label called Rage Records & also Enemy Records. Ahmet Ertegun was a good friend and mentor in my early years. I grew up on Robert Palmer's music. I have almost every recording produced. I have seen him perform live on several occasions. To this day no one can compare, and he is still my favorite artist. It was tragic to hear of his sudden death. I had the occasion to meet him once in an elevator at 30 Rockefeller Center, but was to shy to say much. Only that I admired his work. Would have been difficult to really express in a few moments all that his music has meant to me. I am friends with the Toussaint family. Allen Toussaint has moved back to New York and continues to tour and I see him on occasion as well. He is the uncle also one of my artists on Rage. I visited Sea Saint Sound in 1994, and of course wanted to know any details of the recording that look place with Mr. Palmer. I also am a bass player and played in a band for a time. It lovely to see that someone keeps things going online. He will be remembered as one of the best singers of our time along with Nat King Cole and Billy Holiday. Thank you for your site. Much love to you and him for all the beautiful music.
Pete Gage from Vinegar Joe on "Here With You Tonight," the song he wrote for Pressure Drop.
(Thanks to Steve Smith & Tony Moss)
"Well Vinegar Joe were headed on a collision course with record company & management issues - Rob & Elkie were restless and a rift was shaping up with the press trying to exalt one above the other - despite that the song emerged late one night in a rehearsal room beneath a music shop in Fulham Rd, London. I'd go there and work on my own throughout the night bashing around on a wurly piano & acoustic guitar with rats running around in the ceiling above my head, even knowing that maybe this batch of songs might never see the next V Joe album. 'Here with you tonight' shaped up well and Rob liked my demo - I think we tweaked a few bits together but knowing Rob's phrasing so well having worked together so long, the melody was totally tailor-made for his timing, pronunciation & phrasing and it fitted him like a glove, as it should.
I know we rehearsed it and we might have demoed it as VJ but when Chris Blackwell called Rob out of the band and all hell broke loose with the management problems I thought the song would never get recorded - and it was for Rob not anybody else so I thought it was over. Then some time later Rob called and said he had tried it out for the solo LP and it had scrubbed up nicely - that is of course the version you have.
So great you like it - hope this little chat has made you feel even coser to the song - who's it about? Well I hate to explain that cos so often it can spoil who you think it's about - - like a book you draw your own characters and the film can disappoint you? - - so all I'm gonna say is it was drawn from an experience from my life many years earlier but as Rob and so many other probably agree we have been in those situations and can all relate to the words.
Anyway Tony my old mate - sing along with it - enjoy it - somewhere up in heaven Rob might be singing along the harmonies too - not to mention a swarm of deceased cockney London rats saying "I was there in the ceiling when they wrote this song - not many people know that!" :) © Steve Smith 2009
If you have a personal memory of Robert that you would like to include, please email email@example.com
From Andy Fraser, who was the bass player with Free at the time he met Robert....
“I have really good memories of Robert, back from when we used to play in his local town Scarborough. He would come see us and chat. Only much later on did I find out that because he thought of himself as a bass player, that he came to see me. I always thought of him as a singer and assumed he came to see Paul, who in fact he didn't much care for.
Other memories of him after he came down to London, with Vinegar Joe became part of Island's family, and had that little flat in Hampstead Heath, where he first turned me on to Marvin Gaye and "What's Going On". Changed my whole perspective.
Right up to visiting with him in Switzerland, in this beautiful old Mill House he had converted, with that awesome view over the lake. Always the best host, the nicest, most generous guy, and really a terrible loss for the rest of us.”
Mark Palmer Writes:
“My wife Julie and I received a number of annual mix tape cassettes from Robert over the years. He would usually enclose something of his own on there in demo form, or a live clip from the last tour. Some of the content would show up in later songs where the influences were obvious, from The Beatles to Ozzy Osbourne.
We also used to send him mix tapes of new music we had heard. One of these songs was "Dr Zhivago's Train" by a little known artist called Nicolai Dunger who was a former Swedish soccer player. Having heard the song I immediately thought that Robert would love it. Not only the unusual lyric but the clever way the rhythmic structure of the song had been constructed to sound like a train.
A couple of months later when we arrived for a weekend visit with my Mum and Dad in Scarborough, we walked through the door only for my mum to shout through that Robert was on the phone and wanted to talk to me. As I picked up the phone I heard Robert say "Check this out!" then he played his version of "Dr Zhivago's Train" down the phone line, which he had finished recording the night before. As usual he had improved on the original! He said he had loved the song but been unable to work out the complex time signature even though he wanted to include it as a very late addition to the album "Drive". He said that in the end his son Jim had nailed it the night before and he was thrilled with the version they had recorded. It was the last time I was to speak with him.”