Kim Aucremann / Kim Charles (Non-Fiction)

Written for my book, In Love With a Sailor + The Captain in Me, 2013-2014 © Karen Maeby 

About a year and half ago, I finally bought a record player. I had always wanted one of my own, and after having been to several thrift stores to see just how cheap albums were nowadays, I wanted to go that route for discovering older music. 

One day, after receiving my record player in the mail, I went to one of the places in search of nothing in particular…but came home with 20 albums, 10 cents each. I felt as if I won the lottery. 

After listening to some artists I knew and some I didn’t, I came across this local artist in St. Pete. While at the thrift store I had seen “St. Pete” on the bottom of the album cover and thought, “Well, why not. I like local music, let’s give this person a try.” 

Best decision, ever

When I played Kim Aucremann’s album (The one recorded at The Breckenridge Hotel in St. Pete), it instantly became my favorite.

After discovering how much I really liked this guy – I had to look him up online. I found nothing until I did some serious digging deep online. I did a lot of research to find a few different newspaper articles from the 1970s about him playing at The Breckenridge Hotel in St. Pete. 

There was something very unique about this guy. He was a one man act and was so talented. I laughed at his 1970s jokes, and I actually understood them. He mentioned the CB – do you remember the CB? I do. I think I was in single digits when my dad had one in his truck; then the pagers started taking off, larger cell phones and later technology started getting more complicated and changing all the time where it now has become a rat race just to stay up-to-date with everything. But I digress. 

Digging into the newspaper articles online about Kim Aucremann, I found out that he was a part of the US Navy Show Band where he traveled around the country entertaining sailors. .. which was amazing because.. this book is about sailors and all that jazz. Odd, right? Coincidental? Maybe. Especially since I decided that he deserved to get his own piece in my book. 

In my opinion, he was certainly one of the best hidden discoveries; such a gem and a staple to my music listenings as I’ve written this book. While doing research, I was sad to discover that he had passed away quite some time ago.. back in 1988, at the ripe age of 40, when I was barely 2 years old. 

One of the final articles I read was the famous one where he changed his name from Kim Aucremann to Kim Charles. Under Kim Charles, he recorded a hit song called “I Want to Thank You.” In that same article, he talked about earning his personal key to success and which door it would open for him. Having read that, I knew what exactly what he meant, as I am just steps away from mine. I hope. 

2019 UPDATE: For several years, I made it a tradition to listen to this album on Sunday mornings. You can actually find this album on YouTube now. Just put in his name and someone uploaded the whole thing. It’s worth a listen.

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