Roosevelt Jamison 1936-2013
When Preston Lauterbach and I started up the O.V. Wright Memorial Fund in 2008, we went out of our way to find Roosevelt and bring him on board with Willie Mitchell and the rest of the crew. Once we finally tracked him down, he agreed to come have breakfast with me and talk things over. As he began to speak of those days, of James Carr showing up on his doorstep broke and hungry, and quite literally out of his mind, he broke down and started to cry at the memory of it. This was the first time I had met him, and I began to truly understand the depth of spirit and emotion that this man, and the music he created, brought to this world of ours. From that moment on, I became his biggest fan.
As part of the festivities in Memphis surrounding the O.V. Wright Memorial Dedication, I had arranged for a luncheon at the Rendezvous that would bring Roosevelt and Quinton Claunch back together, just like the night they had spent on the living room floor listening to those tapes all those years ago. As it turned out, Quinton wasn't feeling up to it, but Roosevelt came and introduced everyone to his wonderful wife Linda, who was kind enough to have made these beautiful keepsake laminated bookmarks for the occasion, emblazoned with the lyrics of Jamison's song of songs... all of us who were lucky enough to be there that day will treasure them forever.
I kept in touch with Roosevelt over the years, and we talked often of those days. Here was a man who had been there and back, and had the stories to prove it. In the summer of 2011, he was diagnosed with Brain Cancer and, although he was weak, he would still answer my call and speak with me from his hospital bed. Miraculously, Roosevelt got up out of that bed, and the cancer seemed to go into remission. That Fall, he would receive a 'Note' on Beale Street, and be honored by the City of Memphis by re-naming the street where he lived 'Roosevelt Jamison Road'. He was finally getting some home-town recognition... but, sadly, the Cancer had returned. When John Broven and I got into town on the Road Trip last August, Roosevelt was the first person I called. He and Linda were kind enough to invite us out to the house and, although things didn't look good at first, with Linda's help we were finally able to make it happen...
That's How Strong My Love Is