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One of the self-defeating traits people tend to have in life comes down to money – or the lack thereof.

Those without it tend to view money as a limited resource that they didn’t have the good fortune to get their hands on, but the truth of the matter is money is always there to be had if you simply believe you can get it.

In the music industry that belief is often put to the test as record companies try not to give their artists anything other than hollow promises in exchange for their songs.

When it came to his belief that his hard work was worth something more tangible than a pat on the back Gene Forrest showed right away that he viewed compensation for his efforts as merely a nice bonus, not as something he had actually earned.


I Don’t Have A Doggone Thing
Forget about the John Dolphin aspect to this story, although it’s certainly relevant that the owner of the Recorded In Hollywood label notoriously gave no money to artists, viewing the fact that he was getting their material pressed and aired the same day it was recorded as compensation enough.

Though hardly equitable, that at least can be viewed in terms of opportunity for someone like Gene Forrest… the ability for a 21 year old without any experience to be heard and in the case of the top side of this record, It Was You, to get a legitimate local hit in the Los Angeles market which provided him with a small measure of fame and the chance to use that to get signed to other labels in the future.

But as Forrest’s career goes forward, both on his own and with girlfriend Eunice Levy, we’ll see one of the problems he’ll continually face will come down to his lack of conviction in his own contractual rights… his personal value in other words… and as such he’ll continually defer to companies out to steal from him.

Some people just don’t have that inner self-confidence to know their own worth, but Forrest seemed to take that to the extreme at times. Since you tend to write about what you know, or in this case the way you view the world, Everybody’s Got Money is kind of an self-indictment on that aspect of his persona.

His mindset throughout the song is one of self-pity, a feeling that he’s powerless to affect change that would benefit his life. He talks about working hard, an admirable trait he actually did possess when it came to pursuing his music career, but instead of believing that he deserved to reap the benefits of that work, he is already resigned to his fate at being always on the outside looking in.


I Work Night And Day
Of course this might be a good time to jump in and say that in the field of purely artistic commerce this side of the record probably isn’t worth all that much because it’s not very good.

Though it’s competent enough in that it presents a coherent story with some discreet musical touches and an endearing vocal tone by Forrest, there’s nothing remarkable about any of it. Generic in its construction, subdued in its presentation and unmemorable in the images it offers, Forrest delivers a somber mood piece that would be easily overlooked if not for his future success and the way in which the contents seem to reflect his meek and deferential worldview.

That’s the most interesting aspect of all it, the deep rooted concern he expresses that Everybody Has Money… except for him of course… and that he feels he’ll never have it no matter what he does. You can sense his despair, his dwindling confidence and the lack of hope he has in turning this around.

Even when he tries stating that he’s going to change there’s no conviction in his voice when saying it, he’s merely trying to muster up the perception of a better tomorrow to make it through tonight.

As such the record takes a turn for the worse, becoming a series of mild complaints where he’s basically just voicing his frustration rather than creating an internal dialogue over what he can do to better his situation. There’s no rage, no defiance, no gritty determination to overcome his problem and consequently there’s no sympathy to be had for his plight.

If he can’t find it within himself to turn things around, what reason do we have to hope he succeeds?

Every Time I Think About It I’m Mad Again
One thing that is constant in everybody’s life, no matter their stature, is the desire for something that is hard to come by.

Scarcity makes anything more desirable and because those things we want most often seem as if they’re out of your grasp entirely it becomes far too easy to to give up on it altogether and shift the blame elsewhere by insisting things are stacked against you and thus your own happiness is out of your hands entirely.

It’s a coping mechanism we have to excuse our failure in getting what we want.

But those who get what they’re after, be it money or something else, didn’t get lucky along the way, they faced the same obstacles and had the same pangs of self-doubt as anyone else at times, but rather than convince them to give in and accept their fate, that just made them more determined to earn what they crave most through sheer tenacity and persistence.

Just as you’d tell yourself that you don’t want to win at something because it’s easy, you should also insist that you’re not failing just because it’s hard.

But on Everybody’s Got Money Gene Forrest is telling us – and in effect telling the music industry (if they bothered to listen to the records they put out that is) – that he is destined to come out on the losing end and there’s nothing he can do about it.

It’s not money he needs, it’s the self-respect that goes with it for having fought hard for it and earned it in spite of the obstacles.

We can blame John Dolphin in this case for ripping him off, we can blame the record industry in general for being run by cheap hustlers and con-artists, but when he looks into the mirror even Gene Forrest must have known that he had no one to blame but himself.


(Visit the Artist page of Gene Forrest for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)