There is no small amount of irony in the fact that the man who penned an album of lost psych-rock explorations titled U.F.O. disappeared under mysterious circumstances just a few years after the record's release. Vanishing into thin air outside of Santa Rosa, New Mexico, in 1975, Jim Sullivan's whereabouts have never been resolved, a noir ending to a singer-songwriter career that always flirted on the edges of fame.
Sullivan was pals with Harry Dean Stanton and had a cameo in Easy Rider, performed nightly in a Malibu bar to star-studded audiences, and recorded 1969's U.F.O.--an emotionally charged folk-tinged masterwork that recalls the songwriting genius of Fred Neil--with Phil Spector's session players, The Wrecking Crew. Sullivan should have been canonized alongside his L.A. based folk contemporaries; instead he slipped into the abyss.
But with L.A.-based Light in the Attic finally reissuing U.F.O., we're again allowed a chance to witness Sullivan's strange genius, which mixes classic Southern gothic lament with the shadowy corners of early 1970s L.A.
Whether Jim wandered off into the desert in a vision quest or was sucked up by a beam of extraterrestrial light, we'll never know--but U.F.O. is about as good a memorial as you can get.
Take a listen--the album drops this week--and be sure to tune in to Coast to Coast AM (AKA the Art Bell radio show) this Friday November 19th from 10PM-11PM PST / 1AM-2AM EST on KFI 640 AM or at coasttocoastam.com as Sullivan's executive producer Al Dobbs discusses Jim's weird departure...