Few women have original beauty and talent too, but singer Julie Driscoll has both. She's as eye-catching and unusual offstage as she is when she's belting out a song in some smoky club. Since the record she made with Brian Auger and The Trinity, This Wheel's on Fire, was released last month, it's been said that she could become a big star. After her appearances on French television last october, she became a sort of cult figure: people followed her in the street. 'I've always been a success in this country touring. It's only record-wise that I didn't make it." She comes from Vauxhall and her conversation is a jumble of pop patois and Cockney. Her first job was as a showroom assistant at Worth's fashion house: she wanted to be a model. Later she went to work for her agent, opening fan letters for The Yardbirds. But she's been singing since she was 12, and made her first record at 15. Her father plays the trumpet. "I worked for him once at Churchill's Club when I was 16 pretending to be 20. You should have seen the fantastic gear I wore. The band played Latin American and I was dolled up in flouncy flamenco dresses. Between shows I'd nip down to The Scene to hear real music."
Her professional and personal life are inseparable. She talks about 'We' meaning Brian Auger and the group. "We're unbelievably close, and we all stick together." She's never in one place long enough to have boy-friends, though "I once got involved when I was in Rome for 16 days." Her good looks are not eccentric, but the way she uses them and dolls herself up is. She has definite ideas about what she should look like, and has developed the knack of making the most conventional clothes look odd and original. She perms her curly hair and cuts bits off where she feels like it. She won't let a hairdresser near the old barnet, as she calls her weird frizzy mop. She never wears bras, loves boots, big rings and huge brimmed hats. Sometimes she picks up bits and pieces for her wardrobe from antique stalls, and gets her mother to keep her eyes open too.
One of the first songs she wrote was called Dedicated to the C.A.M. (Chelsea Antique Market). Her latest is Lullaby to a Raindrop. "I write in two moods, when I'm hung up or totally relaxed." At 20, after three years touring and playing different dates almost every night, she feels she should learn more. "I'd like to speak French, and learn to drive. I want to get stuck into my guitar and write more songs." But she's finding that one of the inevitable consequences of her recent success is that she has even less time to herself. Now film companies are approaching her, but she's treating every suggestion with caution. I'd like to act, and I feel I'm capable, but I don't want to end up just another actress caught up in that terrible film world. I would have to sing."
The clothes she wears are by Jeff Banks of Clobber, and sold at Fifth Avenue, Regent Street, London W1. Her shirt (2nd photo) is by Annacat, Brompton Road, SW3. Cover photo: hat by Otto Lucas at Fortnum and Mason, Piccadilly, London W1.
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from The Sunday Times Magazine, May 12th 1968. Original Report by Meriel McCooey. Photographs by Just Jaeckin.