Jaime Brockett’s Legend of the U.S.S. Titanic

I recently had the pleasure of unpacking a CD of Jaime Brockett’s 1968 album Remember the Wind and the Rain.

Boston folkie Jaime Brockett became an underground radio sensation with his epic ballad ‘Legend of the U.S.S. Titanic’, which updated the old Leadbelly song about how black prizefighter Jack Johnson had been denied passage on the Titanic because of his race to offer an, er, alternative explanation as to why the ocean liner sank (the captain and first mate were high from smoking hemp rope)! (Collector’s Choice Music)

But, to a 14 year old boy listening to Clyde Clifford’s Beaker Street on late night KAAY out of Little Rock, Arkansas, it was an essential part of growing up in rural Kansas in the late 1960s/early 1970s without feeling like you were trapped in rural Kansas in the late 1960s/early 1970s. You couldn’t get the signal until the stronger local stations went off the air.

Back when stations went ‘off the air.’

The only comparable song I can think of is Alice’s Restaurant. But, like the asterisk on the original label cautioned, “audition before airplay.” It was Nixon’s Amerika after all…

I got it from Collector’s Choice Music, but it turns out that it is more widely available.

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Hal

I am the non-admin personality of blivet tool & die I have been academically trained as a professional archaeologist (MA, RPA) and now live in Arvada, CO. Father, husband, scientist, geek of several trades, and high-functioning Autistic adult. Future planetary expatriate?

12 thoughts on “Jaime Brockett’s Legend of the U.S.S. Titanic

  1. No comments in 5 months, sad. Anyway, I love this song too, and had the lp back in the day, and I as well first heard it on Clyde Clifford’s Beaker Street. I was in East Peoria Illinois, which in its own way is Kansas too, and it was definitely a decisive experience, hearing that radio show all those years ago. A couple years back I did some internet digs and found that Clyde is still doing Beaker Street on Sunday nights, and buried in that same place I found a couple hours of ancient 1972 Beaker Street audio available, which was wonderful to get. Since I do underground radio today, this all had a most definite positive effect on me. Be swell.

  2. I and my buds were always driving out to the far stretch of beach to pick up Beaker street. (NW Florida)
    We would party hard and listen to Beaker street/theater and anything else we could pick up. Everyone of us are attached to Jamie Brockett’s music. Even tonight (11/11/2008) I am talking to one of the guys from then (lives in south Florida now) and we were drifting to Beaker street. The good days!!

  3. In 1973/74 I was in the Navy below Wash D.C. and was hitchhiking home on route 70. Jamie Brockett picked me up in Hancock, Md, and took me across the Pennsylvania turnpike. He was on his way to visit somebody in Meadville,Pa. After talking a bit, he asked if I wanted to hear a new artist just starting out. Jamie said, “His name is Bruce Springstein.” I had never heard of him, but I bought his cd when I got back on base. Anyway, the cool thing was, we smoked a little of that 497 1/2 feet of rope while listening and driving, and it is a memory I will always remember. Thanx for the ride Jamie………………..Bobby

  4. I first heard Jaime Brockett’s “Legend of the USS Titanic” on Georgia Tech’s WREK, which is the coolest college radio in Georgia if not the whole US. I think almost every teen in rural America must have tuned into KAAY at one time or another when the local stations went off the air. I heard a lot of cool stuff on KAAY in the 70’s (listening from south Georgia), but WREK was where I heard Brockett’s Titanic. At the time I heard it I think it was one of the funniest songs I had ever heard. Brockett gets so many jabs in that characterize the sixties folkie years that the song actuatlly gets even better over time. I still love that tune and wish I could hook up with a vinyl version. Somehow having that on CD would just not be quite right.

  5. As I write this, I’m listening to the well-worn cassette tape my brother sent to me in New Zealand about 1975. The epic is interrupted for a few seconds when he had to flip the tape over while recording – it came off a well-known Houston FM station KLOL (K101) I think it was…

    Ah, how many times have I laughed at this over the years…

  6. Holy cow, I have been searching for this song for at least 15 (maybe 20 years) having heard it on a very cool progressive rock radio station in Albany , NY back in my High School years (mid ’80’s). I never forgot that “497 and 1/2 feet of rope” bit, probably due to my state of mind at the time…I even managed to record it on cassette tape as it was played as part of a “hump day unusual moment” a weekly bit of musical weirdness I recorded religiosly for years. However, I never knew the name of the song or the artist. The tape is long gone, and I have been looking for it for years. Found it tonight by searching on Dr. Demento playlists, and google. This serch also led me here. I miss the way radio used to be. Will it ever come back again? I sure hope it does.

  7. If anyone is interested, Clyde Clifford is still playing Beaker Street in Little Rock. Has the program on from 7 till midnight on Sundays on KPPT 94.1 or http://www.beakerstreet.com. I listened to him religiously back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Brings back lots of memories 🙂

  8. I loved this whole album (Geez – 40 years ago) – especially the Titanic and (of course) “Talkin’ Green Beret New Super Yellow Hydraulic Banana Teeny Bopper Blues.” A very talented musician. A classic.

  9. I have had the privilege of knowing Jaime personally, but have lost track of him when I moved from Colorado to California. Jaime, if you read these things–find me in Los Gatos, CA. Fond memories of knowing you from my Boulder/Eagle Rock Clothing Company days–sad to lose touch with you, but so goes life :-(.

    Hope you are happy, well, and still playing music :-).

  10. Just now, a friend of mine said she was talking to her brother earlier and he was trying to remember this song, which he also heard in the 80’s on the radio station I work for – WYSO FM in Yellow Springs, Ohio. As she was talking, I typed in google “titanic forty feet of rope” (all he could remember) and found this information. Thanks for the post. She can now order the CD and make her brother real happy! Also looking forward to hearing this song.

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