Yorkshire Evening Post
Seeing and meeting Proby on his opening night at the Ace of Clubs in Leeds recently confirms that view, and I add that the golden voice is in as fine fettle as ever. With his own 11-piece band and three girl singers belting away in the background, the long-haired Texan, with the big voice and the cowboy boots warbled through his old fab favourites - “Maria,” “Somewhere,” - but also spiced his set with some of that Creedence Clearwater rock sound, and by the end had a previously unenthusiastic audience completely won over. Modest.
In the wake of his Hollywood mansions, Rolls Royces, schooner and other star trappings, the big-time talker and spender now lives in modest circumstances in Hendon - “I’m vice-president of the working men’s club there” - is busy paying back a cool £185,000 to the British tax man, and making a pretty good job of it. “Ah’m tryin’ to work out a cash settlement now,” he said.
Proby had just come off stage. With a towel round his neck and [a] bottle of wine in a bejewelled hand he talked about himself, his views, and other artists. The conversation leapfrogged from the Beattles to drugs to discipline and to the little farm he hopes to buy Altringham. “Waal, Ah’ll just raise a few cows there,” he drawled. Jerry Lee.
“Ah won’t be doin it for profit. Bein’ a bit nostalgic Ah’m callin’ it Wutherin’ Heights. It’s really beautiful.” Someone mentioned rock star Jerry lee Lewis. Proby smiled. “Jerry Lee. He’s very like me. Jerry Lee is a country farm boy. he’d raise cows rather than be on stage.”
“The Beatles? I think they’re fantastic. Ah wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them, and the only thing that disappoints me is that they couldn’t control their lives. They had to experiment. I’ve never had that problem. John Lennon was one of my best friends. I can’t speak to him now.” The right -wing, patriotic southern American is strong in Proby. He was brought up in a series of military schools. “Ah’ve been brought up military since the age of ten” he said, “I was at Culver, where Eisenhower went.” Temper.
Discipline, then was close to him, and this applied to his music and rehearsing. “If the band want a tea-break and somethin’ isn’t right they don’t deserve a tea-break till they do get it right. I can’t control my temper when something is so simple.” Which artist did he admire the most? “Frank Sinatra. Not just because he’s a great singer and professional, but he looks after his friends. Sinatra would break a contract to help a friend.” What about his own friends? Jim Proby said he hadn’t any. Lots of acquaintances and professional ‘friends’ of course. “But a real friend? If you got one real friend you’re a lucky man. I’m afraid I couldn’t say that I have one. It doesn’t bother me.”