Friday, 23 May 2014

Politics and Drugs and Rock and Roll

Following on from the recent post from Senator Samuel J Ervin, here’s another dreadful little record this time not only made by a politician but also about a fellow politician.

A Ballad to George Wallace by Senator Roscoe Dean was issued in August 1972 on the tiny GWS (Great World of Sound) label of Miami, Florida. Roscoe Dean Jr was the state’s youngest senator, elected to office at just 28 years old in 1963. Governor George Wallace, of course, was also immortalised in song by Ken “Nevada” Maines on the brilliantly odd album The World of Las Vegas, featured on this very blog back in July 2012 (and in the rather excellent book The World’s Worst Records: Volume One).

This particular record was issues just months after an assassination attempt – in May 1972 - left Wallace paralysed, forcing him to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Wallace, who died in 1998, is chiefly remembered for his segregationist views, although he eventually renounced segregationism. Backed with Monday Morning Blues by Lee Greene and his Shining Knights of Greene, both songs were co-written by Greene and the mad, bad Senator himself.

Senator Roscoe Dean was indicted on 14 counts of theft – for fiddling his expenses – in 1975, the same year that Governor George launched his fourth unsuccessful campaign for the presidency. The good ol’ boy even took his mum to court with him to elicit some sympathy from the bench, but he was still censured (firmly rebuked) by the Senate in 1976 for, amongst other things, claiming mileage from his home in Jesup, Georgia to Atlanta on days when he was in the Bahamas. 

Not one to learn from his mistakes, in 1982 Dean attempted to found an illegal drug cartel on the Georgia coast to finance his campaign for governor; unfortunately for him his Colombian drug-running co-conspirators were actually undercover agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Roscoe Emory Dean, Jr. and John Thomas Bigley were convicted after trial by jury on three counts of conspiracy to import cocaine, marijuana, and methaqualone; Bigley was convicted on one additional count of using a firearm in the commission of a federal felony.

It has even been suggested that he may have been capable of murder: in December 1979, it is claimed, attorney Hirsch Friedman was contacted by a Mr. Weiss, who had been sentenced on a felony conviction in federal court. Weiss stated he had information that Roscoe Dean was involved in a plot to kill Governor George Busbee. Weiss's information was conveyed to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the GBI asked Friedman to do undercover work on the investigation into Roscoe Dean’s nefarious activities. Friedman was wired up to a concealed tape recorder and, posing as a drug smuggler, discussed the possible sale of cocaine with the Senator. Mr. Friedman then arrested him.

Roscoe was arrested and sent to prison for five years. Released on petition after 22 months, his appeal was overturned and he returned to prison in 1985 to serve out the remainder of his sentence. He's still, apparently, living in Jesup today. I'll bet people give him a wide berth when they meet him on the street.

Anyway, here’s Roscoe’s attempt at vinyl immortality. Enjoy!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I'll bet people give him a wide berth when they meet him on the street.

    Nope. Living without issue in Jesup Georgia, in the Tolerant South, you northern racists.


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