After Brian Epstein's
death, the Lomax Alliance album ground to a halt: the band went
back to America but Jackie Lomax returned to Britain to record for
Apple whilst the other three continued under the name One.
JACKIE LOMAX says '...So
we went back to America and I just hung around, looking for something
to do. Eventually I went to see a couple of the Beatles, and
John (Lennon) told me that since I was a songwriter, I should go
see the guy at Apple Publishing--that's all they had at the time;
their office was above their boutique. You'd record your songs
on two-track, and that's how I got to George (Harrison); he liked
the songs, and said, 'Let's do an album when I come back from India.'
I wasn't sure it would ever happen, but it did…'
DEREK TAYLOR says '...There's a solo singer from Liverpool
named Jackie Lomax who wants to be on Apple and George recognises
his potential and is going to produce him…'
Jackie Lomax became the first act to sign for the Beatles' new Apple
label: George Harrison took responsibility for his recording career
and wrote and produced his debut single. Jackie also contributed
the fourth (low) harmony part to Dear Prudence on THE
BEATLES (The White Album)
and sang on Hey Jude.
GEORGE HARRISON says '… I wrote Sour Milk Sea in Rishikesh, India. I never actually recorded the song--it was done by Jackie Lomax on his album IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?. Anyway, it's based on Vishvasara Tantra, from Tantric art………'what is here is elsewhere, what is not here is nowhere'……… it's a picture, and the picture is called Sour Milk Sea - Kalladadi Samudra in Sanskrit. I used Sour Milk Sea as the idea of - if you're in the shit, don't go around moaning about it: do something about it…'
JACKIE LOMAX says '...But I must admit that when I heard the backing track with Eric and Ringo, it sounded better, and I started to think, 'I'm not sure if I can sing this damn thing because it sounds so good as an instrumental!' When I sang it, there were three people in the booth looking at me - George, Paul and Ringo…'
The single was one of the first four Apple singles - The Beatles' Hey Jude and Mary Hopkin's Those Were The Days were released on 30 August 1968, and Sour Milk Sea and The Black Dyke Mills Band's Thingumybob on 6 September - and featured Jackie, George Harrison, and Eric Clapton on guitars, Paul McCartney on bass, Ringo Starr on drums, and Nicky Hopkins on piano.
JACKIE LOMAX says '...I think they released four at a time. I remember a sort of folder called 'Our First Four', and inside were singles - Hey Jude, Mary Hopkin, me, and a thing Paul (McCartney) had done with a brass band. And I think that really hurt me, because Hey Jude and Those Were The Days (Hopkin's single) kind of eclipsed my single Sour Milk Sea, and it didn't get on the radio too much…'
In spite of the superstar line-up, the single failed to chart but an LP of Jackie's own songs was recorded, again produced by George Harrison and with the same line-up on many of the tracks. Other tracks came out of sessions Jackie and George recorded with the cream of LA session players: Hall Blaine on drums, Larry Knechtel on keyboards and Joe Osborn on bass. The LP, IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?, was released in March 1969.
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF POPULAR MUSIC says '… IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT? featured contributions from a host of star names including Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton. The artist's stylish compositions and superb voice were equal to such esteemed company…'
JACKIE LOMAX says '… so there I was adding up sheets of Dock-Gatemen's' wages when I decided to take up playing seriously and wound up in Germany. Six years later, this album is the result of that decision… that's about it…'
There was no concerted effort to promote the album or to highlight the incredible group of musicians involved and although official sales figures have been lost in the black hole which was Apple's business accounts, it didn't sell enough to enter the charts in Britain or America.
Also in March 1969, Paul McCartney recorded Jackie performing a cover of the Coasters' Thumbin' A Ride and Going Back To Liverpool: George Harrison played guitar and Billy Preston handled keyboards. The following month, Jackie produced himself on a new composition of his, called New Day which became his second single. It featured Billy Kinsley of the Merseybeats on bass, Tim Renick on guitar, Chris Hatfield on piano and Pete Clark on drums. October 1969 saw the last of the Apple sessions, when George Harrison produced How The Web Was Woven which would be the last Jackie Lomax single on Apple.
The void created by the Beatles' break-up and the shake-up of Apple brought about by Allen Klein left Apple artists in limbo and with nothing required from him by his current record label, Jackie Lomax joined the legendary, almost-fictitious Heavy Jelly in 1970.