Gordon Lightfoot

 

I’ve been listening to Gordon Lightfoot for 44 of my 44 years. It’s a gimme, isn’t it? If you were alive in the 70′s, you listened to Gordo.

That doesn’t mean I knew the ins and outs of the man. Actually…..I heard from a reliable source that his life took some serious wrong turns, and there may have been some unfortunate drinking involved. It was the 70′s, why am I surprised?

For most of us, it’s easy to brush Gordon Lightfoot off as some musician with a ton of songs on the Easy Listening radio station. Oh wait, I like that station. Okay, some guy who makes the easy listening station easier to listen to.

How many times have you heard Sundown, or If You Could Read My Mind on Lite FM?  I admit to being stuck in the land of 70′s pop music. Heck, I’m a child of 70′s radio, and frankly, feel lucky to have been so.

I often credit Gordon Lightfoot with my inspiration to be a writer.

Just like a paperback novel. The kind that drugstores sell.
-If You Could Read My Mind

But if you leave your knowledge of Gordon Lightfoot there. You would be missing so much. I was missing it too. It took my 8yo’s obsession with The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and then later The Canadian Railway Trilogy, for me to see it.

I Bet You Didn’t Know

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Gordon Lightfoot has a lot to be flattered about. In 1964 he wrote “The Early Morning Rain”, and because he was a nobody, he wasn’t even the first to record it. A couple of friends who “discovered” him offered to record his song on their album. It was a good move. For both of them.

He did record the song in 1966… and after that 74 other bands and artists recorded it too. Not the least of which were Bob Dylan, Harry Belafonte, Judy Collins, The Grateful Dead, George Hamilton IV (who took it to #9 on the country charts), Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Peter Paul and Mary (the most well-known pop version).

At 13-years-old Gordon Lightfoot was already making a name for himself, he loved to sing and his parents encouraged him to do so. Between the ages of 13-17 he won multiple awards for singing. That recognition helped him find his path so he attended West Lake College of Music in Los Angeles. This decision would prove to be invaluable to him.

The 60′s started a fire in Gordon, by 1964 he had already written 75 songs. However, he felt none of them really had a “sound” he could call his own. And then – he met Bob Dylan. Through Dylan, and many friends that came along with that sound, he found his sound and that sound would take him all over the world.

Bob Dylan had something to say about Gordon Lightfoot as well. In an article written when Dylan inducted Gordon Lightfoot into the Canadian hall of fame he said, “He (Lightfoot) became a mentor (of Dylan’s) for a long time. I think he probably still is to this day.” Obviously the feeling was mutual. And from an article in The Huffington Post:

BF: Who are some of your favorite songwriters?

BD: Buffett I guess. Lightfoot. Warren Zevon. Randy. John Prine. Guy Clark. Those kinds of writers.

BF: You and Lightfoot go way back.

BD: Oh yeah. Gordo’s been around as long as me.

BF: What are your favorite songs of his?

BD: “Shadows,” “Sundown,” “If You Could Read My Mind.” I can’t think of any I don’t like.

Bob Dylan often covered the song “Shadows” when playing live.

As I sat down to write this, I began listening to some Gordon Lightfoot songs I have very little memory of hearing, it could be I never heard them. I was inspired to track them down when I happened upon a list of all of his songs that have been covered by other artists. This one piqued my interest – after all it was covered by Eric Clapton. I found Clapton’s version of it on YouTube, and frankly, I wasn’t impressed. But that irked me, there had to be a reason that Eric Clapton would want to play that song. Right? There was. The problem is, you cannot improve upon perfection.

The 1970′s would be when Gordon Lightfoot would truly see fame. Finally being recognized by listeners outside of the folk music scene, yet continuing to create using his own unique sound, his songs began to top the charts. Being a child of the 70′s, it was only natural that my experience with Gordon Lightfoot would be: If You Could Read My Mind, Sundown and of course The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. But being a lover of music, that is never enough. When a songwriter sings and plays with so much raw emotion I naturally want to know, what more?

Exploring Gordon Lightfoot was something I did many years ago, to connect with my father, who was very influenced by folk music. And now again I am finding it as a way to connect with my son, to expand his knowledge of music, as I capitalize on his fascination with The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald*. Every minute is a learning moment with music. With Gordon, it could be a lifetime.

I will not leave you without Sundown:

Some trivia:

Aside from his success in writing, singing and performing his own songs, Lightfoot has found fortune in having his songs recorded and performed by other great artists including:  Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Jr., Marty Robbins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Judy Collins, Johnny Mathis, Anne Murray, Olivia Newton-John, Sarah McLachlan, Barbra Streisand, Peter Paul & Mary, Harry Belafonte, Jane’s Addiction, Richie Havens, Glen Campbell, Toby Keith, George Hamilton IV and Eric Clapton.

In June of 2012 Lightfoot’s legacy was further enhanced when he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.  Lightfoot was honored for his role in defining the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and ’70s.  There are fewer than 400 inductees who make up the impressive roster enshrined in the Songwriters Hall of Fame including Barry Mann, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Isaac Hayes, Carole King, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Bruce Springsteen, Jim Croce, Phil Collins, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Diane Warren, Garth Brooks, Leon Russell and Leonard Cohen.

* Shameless plug alert. This is a YouTube video of my son singing every single word of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald 3 years ago. He still sings that song almost everyday.

Gordon Lightfoot Graphic.png

Blood Sweat and Tears

How will you be remembered? Will you be the guy who fought for a cause? Or will you be a guy who had an amazing idea for a band, a band that would turn into a pop sensation?!

What if you don’t want your band to be a pop sensation? You dig your heals in the sand. Will it become one anyway?

It’s happened before, it will happen again, just ask the founding members of Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Blood, Sweat & Tears began as a jazz-fusion-rock band that incorporated horns with a rock n’ roll sound. They were it. New York loved them. But as important as the sound was, they put a lot of effort into the message they were sending. War was bad, the man was bad, they were making a statement. They made that statement so well and their music was so new and exciting that they were one of many amazing musicians picked to headline at Woodstock. Blood Sweat & Tears were part of a movement of musicians that would inspire a generation to Fight the Man! For a little while.

However, only one year in, the band had split with its “leader” Al Kooper. Al was the backbone of their “underground” connection – which in retrospect would turn out to be so much more than an underground. It was his finger on the pulse of the counter-culture. Without him, the beat lived on, but the fever of the cause was gone. So although their appearance at Woodstock was already without Kooper, their ties with the counter-culture phenomena that drove their fans, were now tenuous.

This reformation of sorts began what would be the band’s own spinning wheel. Arguments about the path their band should take, questionable personal choices and the desire to try new things would be the start of more personnel changes than I could list. Arguably the most important, was the selection of a new Lead Singer, David Clayton-Thomas. Bobby Colomby and Steve Katz, two of the original members, found Clayton-Thomas thanks to their good friend Judy Collins who had heard him sing in a small bar in New York. Lucky for them she did, because Clayton-Thomas would become the “voice” of Blood, Sweat & Tears to those of us being raised on the radio of the 70′s.

In late 1968, with David Clayton-Thomas as the frontman, they released their second album. The self-titled Earth, Wind & Fire would go multi-platinum with a performance very different from their first album, but the people loved it. The album won the Grammy for Album of the Year, beating out The Beatles Abbey Road.

 

blood sweat & tears second album

This album included the songs that I, and many, remember as part of the Soundtrack of our personal Seventies. Spinning Wheel, You’ve Made Me So Very Happy, And When I Die, Hi-De-Ho, and Lucretia MacEvil (which was the worst chart performer of that album, never breaking #29. No other BS&T would ever do better.)

As 1969 became part of the past, BS&T apparently made a critical error in judgement; in exchange for an expedited visa for Clayton-Thomas, who was a Canadian citizen, they agreed to play as part of a U.S. State Department sponsored tour of Eastern Europe in May/June 1970. At this volatile time in our history any voluntary association with the government was highly unpopular and the band definitely felt the repercussions of that decision. Obviously they could not disclose the reason they agreed to play.

I would say this was the beginning of the end for them, because after that tour they did not have another highly successful album or single. But as anyone who has grown up in the 70′s and 80′s knows, Blood Sweat & Tears is part of our favorite music memories and our most listened to mixes. Bobby Colomby knew that the same music that won multiple Grammy’s became part of our culture. Not the counter-culture they had thought, but a much bigger culture of the infectious music that would tie us together. Bobby somewhat prophetically understood that BS&T’s fans would not let their music die, it was just too good. And so, he basically created a Blood, Sweat & Tears franchise. Much like the bands of Duke Ellington and Glen Miller, long after those amazing men were gone, their names lived on through Big Bands playing their hits, their styles as The Glen Miller Band and The Duke Ellington Band. He said on the official Blood Sweat and Tears website “The obligation of a band is to be entertaining, and be mindful that the audience is there to hear your hits. And for many years, the Blood, Sweat & Tears brand has provided enjoyable evenings. We were trying to make sure that people walked out of our concerts feeling they’d just heard a great show. And the feedback we’ve gotten confirmed that’s been the case.”

A little part of me wants to shiver when I hear a band being referred to as a Brand or a Franchise, another part of me says, bring it on, I’ll buy the tickets! A chance to hear a band composed of some of the best musicians in the business, play some of my favorite songs? Bobby Colmby was prophetic alright.

WHAT (1)

 

 

I Love Chicago, I’m Old, and The Best Night of Funky R&B Ever.

Age does funny things to you.

The one I think we are least likely to understand when we are young is the resistance to change.

Of course I know this to be true because I am a child of sitcoms. And each sitcom has at least one episode about the adults not “getting it.” Whatever “it” may be.

So while I am not happy that the world is moving so fast, and technology has caused us to lose an important part of our humanness by making communication impersonal and brisk. I am also increasingly disturbed by the lack of creativity found in popular movies and film.

While the former is a perfect illustration of my statement. The latter, I actually think, is a statement of truth.

So in my desire to not subject myself to constant disappointment, I spend much of my time listening to hand-picked music from generations past.

Which brings me to my point.

I love Chicago.

No, I don’t have ADD.

Two weeks ago we went out for my Brother-in-law’s birthday. He loves the city.

I loved the city in my 20′s. Now I’m old.

But for him, I would happily go into the city. Also, his new-found fame as Chicago’s premier roof-top designer has opened doors to some of the hottest restaurants – the kind with month-long waiting lists. Who was I to say no to a dinner with all the shi-shis?

Dinner was……interesting. The menu may have been written in Latin. The food? Let’s just say it was a little to “creative” for me.

But the atmosphere? Well…that was something else. This place is the see and be seen spot of Chicago, and let me tell you – the people watching was spectacular.

But frankly, when dinner was done, I figured we were going home because, did I mention I was old?

But my brother-in-law had other ideas.

“You know we are right around the corner from The Back Room.” He looked right at me.

He knew back in the day, hanging out at a jazz club was just my thing. He was goading me.

But we were old, and we had finished our shi-shi dinner at 8pm and The Back Room didn’t open until 9.

I shook my head and said, “The babysitter wasn’t expecting us to be out too late.”

Of course my brother-in-law scoffed, I knew I was being lame – I had no choice but to cave.

I got on my phone and saw that Avain Hightower and Full Circle were playing. Well Avain Hightower was the original keyboardist for The Chi-lites and had played with everyone in my R&B Hall of Fame. My excitement was piqued.

We were the first ones there. Because we’re old.

But that was perfect because we didn’t have reservations, which meant first come first serve. And we were first come, so we got awesome seats.

The Back Room is considered a Showcase Lounge, it is small. Really small. There isn’t a bad seat in the house because the house capacity is 150 if it’s 200. The waitresses were friendly, the crowd was happy, and the show started on time. 3 for 3.

Was I in for the time of my middle-aged life! Avain Hightower is just as much the high-energy showman as he was over 25 years ago. The band was HOT. They jumped right in and didn’t stop for over an hour.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m watching good live music I can’t stop smiling. They played everything from P-Funk to Michael Jackson to Pharell and back again. And they did every single song justice. I could not stop moving and I gotta tell you that by the time the first set was over my face hurt, my voice was going, and I was ready for more.

avain hightower.jpg

When they took a break we had the chance to hang with the drummer for a short few. My brother-in-law had bought him a drink at the bar, and he wanted to come over and meet us. I have never met a happier, more humble drummer. I have often used the term “drummer’s complex” you know, being in the back all the time doesn’t always work for a star. Nope, not this guy. He was as genuine as they come, couldn’t believe we thought he was great.

Our original plan was to leave after the first set, but we couldn’t. Babysitter be damned.

I did my best to keep track of the set-list so I could recreate it in the form of a playlist on my iTunes. I will share it with you, so you can enjoy the eclectic mix of music that made up this unexpectedly electrifying evening.

Let’s Groove

Brick House

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough

Flash Light

Happy

Spanish Harlem

Got to Give it Up

Groove Me

Proud Mary

Blurred Lines

Calypso Frelimo

 

And believe it or not, it was 100 times better than even that.

Go to this link to see a live clip of them from the local TV station the day before I saw them.

 

nico osteria.jpg

 

 

It’s been a while since I’ve been here, so I thought I might remind myself what Raised on the Radio is to me.

Hello Friends,

Many moons ago I had an idea. This idea was based on the fact, the assumption, that there were more people like me – as far as music tastes go – than the growth of mediocre pop music would suggest. My idea was to create a space that celebrated the music of my past, our past. 

For me, the music of my past was the music of the late 60′s through the mid-80′s. Admittedly much of what was good in music began to die in the early 80′s, some might argue the late 70′s, but we can debate that later. The music of my past also includes pop music, because pop music of the 60′s and 70′s was good. Music was good. Work went into it, blood, sweat, talent and knowledge went into making original music. You had to work much harder to be a star. Sure you can look backwards and find a decent amount of cheese. But let’s be frank, back then it was innovative.

What I have realized in all of these moons, but not been able to formulate into a coherent sentence, is that Raised on the Radio isn’t only about music. It’s about a time. A monumental time. An iconic time. Those decades of innocence and decadence. Yes – delicately intertwined memories of Brady Bunch and Hugh Heffner, Romper Room and Suzanne Somers, The Sound of Music and A Clockwork Orange.

It wasn’t either…or, each was a part of our collective unconscious. Pigtails did not discriminate, you could be a 6-year-old school-girl or a 19-year-old sex kitten. It was all good, and there was no shame.

I admit it. I yearn for those years. For the nights we spent running through the street playing kick the can; while some kids battery-powered transistor radio sat skewed in the grass on the curb blaring Dream Weaver or You Should Be Dancing on the one FM station that played good music.

I miss hanging out in friend’s basements, talking, laughing, plotting, listening to the radio and just waiting to hear your favorite song. Even being so bold as to phone in a dedication every once in a while and actually hearing your own!

Walking up town to the Record Store. Yes kiddies, if you’ve never been to an honest to goodness Record Store, that was the place to be. To see and be seen. Flipping through the rows and rows of albums, checking for the one Bay City Rollers album you didn’t have; checking any new customers out of the corner of your eye every time the opening door caused the bell to ring. Swooning over Peter Frampton posters and not giving a flip that he was an amazing guitar player too. (you guys know you did it)

That time will never be again. That peace, contentment that the world was only as big as we could see. There was a feeling of safety then, the world was digestible, reliable, you had the 5 o’clock news and the Newspaper to feed you information, and that felt right.

The overwhelming reach of media now only makes me long for those days more. To wish that our unfortunate chillins (that’s 70s slang for children) could experience it too.

Raised on the Radio started as a place to share our love of music from a time when your only choices were listening to the radio or heading to a Record Store to buy the album.But I realize now, it is so much more.

Raised on the Radio is about an era gone by, nostalgia, comfort, something that if you lived it – you long for – a place to remember it all. We knew what patience was. We waited through 5 mediocre songs on an album to get to our favorite, rather than picking up the needle and trying to drop it on just the right place. To us, fast forward was holding a button down on a cassette deck and taking an educated guess that when you lifted your finger you would be at the song you wanted, you were often wrong.

Station Wagons, The Mandrell Sisters, Hee-Haw, The Dean Martin Show, Carol Burnett, Johnny Carson, The 10,000 Pyramid (because 10,00 dollars was A LOT of money!), Password

We were the first generation to be completely raised on television, and it didn’t kill us.

Raised on the Radio is a site about me.* I am inextricably intertwined with the pop culture of the 70s. Like it or not, I would sooner watch Three’s Company or Hogan’s Heroes than Game of Thrones or Modern Family any day of the week. In fact I do.

Everything I think or do is subconsciously compared to The Dukes of Hazzard or Charlies Angels. What comes out is my own version of reverse homogenization.

Come take this ride to me. Welcome to the New, Improved, Raised on the Radio.

*I’m not selfish, Raised on the Radio is also for you. Maybe you want to share your story or stories, I welcome that. I get that your own turf might not be the right place for you to share your inner Paul Stanley or Donny Osmond.

New Raised on the Radio.jpg

A New Wave Dance Playlist

New Wave Playlist

 

For me, Dance Music is New Wave 80′s music. Because that’s when I was disturbed and dancing.

I did some dancing in the late 90′s, but that’s when Dance music was just plain old disturbing to me.

Here are some notables:

Ministry with Everyday is Halloween – By the way, this song was our anthem. “Why are you dressed like its halloween?”

 

The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary

 

Siouxsie & The Banshees with Cities in Dust

 

The Cure – Close To Me

 

Sorry I just got so darn nostalgic I couldn’t leave this one out.
The Cure – Love Cats

 

New Order – Blue Monday

 

What was New Wave to you? Did you even know it existed? What makes you want to dance? Speak up!

Tell me about the Music New Wave in your life.

 

Jen Kehl often finds herself stuck in the 70′s with the all the rainbows and unicorns. Where life just drifts away as she listens to her favorite 60′s and 70′s music. She blogs at My Skewed View and created the music site Raised on the Radio, where she invites other writers to share their music experiences with you. She is also a published author as part of the anthology The Mother of All Meltdowns available on Amazon.
Connect with her on twitter @jenkehl.

What Are Your First Musical Memories?

vinyl on player

What are the first songs you remember in your life?

Of course, the answer may have something to do with when you were born.  It may also have something to do with the type of music your parents listened to.  And, believe it or not, it may also have to do with what your mother used to put you to sleep when you were a baby.

C’mon, don’t tell me you don’t remember:

Rockabye Baby

Being born way, way back in 1954, I have the benefit of seeing Rock ‘n Roll grow up with me.  Of course, one of the very first artists that really hit me as someone to emulate was known as the King.  Oh, you might even have heard of him, too.  Yep, the one and only Elvis Presley!

Elvis Presley “Hound Dog”

I think there were many songs that I heard as a youngster that really didn’t stick with me.  What I do remember is a time when I was 4 years old.  My mother and I were on vacation visiting my grandmother in Cranston, R.I.   We’d gone shopping to pass the afternoon, and to get out of the heat of the apartment building (which had no air conditioning back then), and stepped into a Dime Store. (Once known as department stores … now known as having been devoured by Wal-Mart stores.)  At the end of an aisle, I remember piles and piles of printed T-Shirts, stuffed animals, and an old 45 rpm record player cranked up to full volume playing Sheb Wooley’s “Purple People Eater!”

Sheb Wooley  “Purple People Eater”

After that, I started paying attention to music.  It wasn’t long before I had my own record player and wasn’t shy about throwing a fit to get more and more records.  (It’s a trick I still use today with my wife!)  Thanks to a loving grandmother, I soon received my own copy of “Purple People Eater”, and the Three Stooges doing their version of this hit for kids.

The Three Stooges  “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”

I must admit, I didn’t really know much about Rock ‘n Roll at that time.  Oh, Ed Sullivan’s Show and other variety shows we’d watch on a 19″ black and white television always had some singers of sorts, but I found that Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons” and Jimmy Dean’s “Big Bad John” were favorites of mine.

Tennessee Ernie Ford  “16 Tons”

Jimmy Dean  “Big Bad John”

And, as much as I hate to admit it, three more novelty songs are next on my list of early memories.

Hollywood Argyles  “Alley Oop”

Brian Hyland  “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”

Larry Verne  “Please, Mr. Custer”

And then, before you knew it, the Beatles came to America.  Then the Rolling Stones, and Herman’s Hermits, and The Kinks, and … well, the story can only continue with the British Invasion and how it changed music in the states.

But, that’s another story!

(How about you?  What was the first music you remember?  Be sure to leave it in the comments below!)

Ciao!

Having grown up during the 50′s & 60′s, Rich was a personal witness to the confusion of the times. His love of music drew him into the conflicts of the day as he protested many of the atrocities in civil rights and an overseas war. Ironically, military service, during the final days of the Vietnam Conflict, ended a music career in a successful band. However, his love of music held true as he later chose a career as a radio announcer over law school. Here, along with being able to play the music he cherished, he interviewed many top music acts. This allowed him to gain much knowledge of the recording industry and the psyche of music artists in rock, jazz and R&B. Later, his love of performing transformed him into a career in stand-up comedy. Twenty years later, his love for music continues. Quote: “Being born in 1954, Rock ‘N Roll and I have grown up together. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”

Free Music for the Weekend From William Steffey

Our good friend William Steffey is offering his last three singles for free through this Sunday. It’s a great way to get to hear some new music from an amazing Indie artist you may not be familiar with!

So go check it out here. Download Free Singles.

Go support him, and you might find something you love!

Also if you want to read more about him, click here for the post An Interview With Indie Artist William Steffey.

 

 

william steffey

There Must Be Some Misunderstanding – How a Missing Genesis Album was Eclipsed by Van Halen

guest dj 200 dark

This week’s Raised on the Radio Guest Post, is by Doug Foster. Doug and I go waaaay back and I am thrilled to have him on Raised on the Radio.

Please click this link to read this post about love and loss and Van Halen,  There Must Be Some Misunderstanding

As much as I have loved having Raised on the Radio as it’s own site, we will now be moving back to where it all began. If you want to stay on top of all the newest posts from Raised on the Radio guests, regular contributors and me, please click over to My Skewed View and subscribe.

A Letter to Carole King Concerning Tapestry

Dear Carole,

In 1971 you released an album called “Tapestry”.  This is an album in which you either wrote all the songs either by yourself, or with a little help from your friends, with the exception of “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman” and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”  I say this not to tell you something you already know, but to simply state facts since so many artists in today’s world have absolutely no idea how to write a decent song.  So sad, but so true!

I was in the midst of a great love with a young lady I imagined would be my mate the rest of my life when I heard the first single, “I Feel The Earth Move”.  Indeed, she did make the Earth move under my feet, and everything else for that matter.  I’d lost my mother when I was only thirteen, and she had become the sole female in my life.  We’d walk together, hand in hand, through all of life’s trials and tribulations regardless of the odds.  And, you were there with us.

(“I Feel The Earth Move”)

How fragile young love is.  It wasn’t long before your second single, “It’s Too Late” was telling our story.  I know, your were telling the story from your own experiences and from a female point of view, but believe me, your words never fit a situation better.  She’d grown tired of walking the halls at high school alone and had found another.  Yes, she’d returned my engagement ring, only to ask for it the following week.  That was when I found it wasn’t I that she’d desired, but the status of wearing a diamond to high school.  I should have known better.

(“It’s Too Late”)

After her, I found another.  Yet, Vietnam was on the horizon reminding me how unsure the future could be.  I was having fun with my new partner, doing things that I’d never imagined doing, as she was an entirely different person than the first.  Much more daring and one to seek out the fun things life had to offer, I left the land of the narrow-minded and experienced my own “Smackwater Jack” person.  From concerts to going ice fishing (and accidentally toasting crickets along the way with the rear heater vent in the VW), she taught me that it wasn’t only material goods that brought a smile, but the small things that could be shared together in a very special moment.

(“Smackwater Jack”)

“Tapestry” continued to follow me in my life.  The military caught up with me and I couldn’t escape its  grasp.  After a trip home for leave, I’d started the eighteen hour drive back to the base in Virginia when “So Far Away” hit the radio.

Yes, we’d visited and shared not only some good times, but also our physical love for each other.  There were no promises made to be broken in the future.  We’d acted as how we’d expected adults to act.  It wasn’t the most loving goodbye, but it was sufficient, or so we’d thought.

(“So Far Away”)

Would you believe I turned the car around after listening to your song and drove an hour and a half back to do it all over again?  I did!  But this time, with love and affection.  I asked her to gather her things and go with me.  Of course, she didn’t as her college obligations and such kept her cemented to her surroundings.  But, at least your song made our goodbye one in which we knew we might have a chance to get back together in the future.

Your 8-track accompanied me in my journeys for many years, later becoming a cassette and then a cd.  Every song has a personal story that I could relate, but restrain myself for respect for your time.  I will say that “Home Again” was there when I returned to her and my home after the military, as well as “You’ve Got A Friend” every time I tried to cheer up someone over the years that needed a smile.

(“Home Again”)

I really don’t know if you knew how deep “Tapestry” would affect a person over the years when you released it.  I can only tell you that to this soon to be 60-year-old, it has created a musical bond between you and millions like me, whose lives have been much better places to be with “Tapestry” a part of them.

Now, you and I and millions of others are getting older by the second.  One by one, we tend to leave this Earth and head off into another existence … or, so we hope.  It’s been a long and interesting journey, and the next one promises nothing different.

I have to say “Thank You” for providing us with “Tapestry”.  It enlightened, nurtured, consoled, and entertained us for many a decade.

I’m just wondering, will “Home Again” be played as an encore when we reach our final destination?

With Love,

Rich

To Download Carole King Tapestry, click this link: Tapestry – Carole King

Having grown up during the 50′s & 60′s, Rich was a personal witness to the confusion of the times. His love of music drew him into the conflicts of the day as he protested many of the atrocities in civil rights and an overseas war. Ironically, military service, during the final days of the Vietnam Conflict, ended a music career in a successful band. However, his love of music held true as he later chose a career as a radio announcer over law school. Here, along with being able to play the music he cherished, he interviewed many top music acts. This allowed him to gain much knowledge of the recording industry and the psyche of music artists in rock, jazz and R&B. Later, his love of performing transformed him into a career in stand-up comedy. Twenty years later, his love for music continues. Quote: “Being born in 1954, Rock ‘N Roll and I have grown up together. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”

Jerry Reed – Guitar Genius – Musical Comedian

jerry 1

In the late 50′s – early 60′s, Jerry Reed was a songwriter, a famous songwriter. So many of the songs he wrote and recorded became #1 hits for other people. Yet when he played them, they didn’t get far.

Thanks to Brenda Lee’s cover of his song, All You Gotta Do, his name was kept alive while he did a 2-year tenure in the armed forces from 59-61. Nashville was waiting for Jerry Reed to write more hit songs.

All You Gotta Do – Brenda Lee written by Jerry Reed

Jerry was known among the music community as a genius, whose un-taught hands almost played on their own. His style was completely unique and full of emotion. Butch Baker, a close friend of his said “He had this style called ‘the claw,’ ” and noting that Mr. Reed, who had no formal musical training, also made a record by that name. “I’m not sure if anybody knew what he was doing — I don’t even think he knew what he was doing — he would just do these emotional things that came out through his hands. He was a true innovator.’”

When Elvis Presley wanted to cover Jerry’s song Guitar Man, he tracked Jerry down in the middle of a 3 day fishing trip. Unshaven, Jerry walked into Graceland and said, “I was a wreck, but Elvis was about the prettiest thing I ever did see.”

Elvis Presley was so impressed with Jerry’s guitar playing that he had him play the guitar on that album and his next.

Guitar Man – Elvis Presley written by Jerry Reed

Jerry Reed wrote more songs recorded by Elvis Presley than any other songwriter.

The thing about Jerry Reed was, he was a stand-up guy. All he wanted was to play music. And apparently to keep moving. Described by Burt Reynolds as “So hyper he can thread a sewing machine while standing still.”
It’s no surprise that an NBC crewman said  “Where Reed is, there’s electricity! He’s like a 300-watt bulb in a room full of 60-watt lamps. You can feel it. He buzzes!”
Even Jerry knew he was a taut wire ready to go, “I talk about taking a rest, but I thrive on it. I stop a week and I’m going crazy. I see a bus of musicians going down the road and wonder why I’m not with them.”

Guess that’s how he got so much done. I guess that’s why he wrote over 400 songs, and recorded over 48 albums. Well, 48 that were his, there were countless others made by artists who demanded Jerry Reed as their lead guitar, not the least of which were Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Glen Campbell and Chet Atkins.

jerry snowman

Jerry Reed was known to me as “Snowman” before I knew he sang those songs I love. Heck I didn’t even know his name. He was just, “Snowman.”

I didn’t know that he wrote When You’re Hot, You’re Hot, I basically just knew East Bound and Down, the theme song from Smokey and the Bandit.

Then as I got older I realized I knew a lot of his songs, I just didn’t know they were his.

Chet Atkins once told Jerry Reed he needed to stop writing for other people, and start writing those funny songs he loved so much. I think we can all be thankful that Chet pushed him, because Jerry’s catalog of song’s with silly lyrics can keep me in happy music for weeks.

When Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins got together, now that was a whole different story. That is when Jerry Reed’s talent really shined. Man did he shine. And he wrote all the music. His Genius. The guy who wrote She Got The Goldmine (I Got The Shaft), among folks who know true country, will go down as one of the greatest guitar players of all time. Forget the songwriting, forget the silly lyrics. He was a virtuoso, het taught himself to play guitar on a $7 used guitar when he was 8-years-old. If ever a man was given a gift, it was Jerry Reed. I believe he was one of the most under-appreciated musicians of our recent past. I would like to change that in my own little way. So if you can listen to these songs without feeling all smiley inside, you drop me a line. If not, spread the word.

Jerry Reed left us too young. He died in 2008 at 71 years-old of emphysema. A true marvel of the music industry, he stayed happily married to the same woman for 49 years and raised two “normal” daughters. He died not of a drug overdose, or liver poisoning, he died from those insidious cigarettes. Jerry Reed quit smoking in the late 70′s but those cigarettes still took his life. So he made this little sitcom/movie to try and encourage others to quit in his own Jerry Reed way. If you’ve got a few minutes to kill (see what I did there?) watch and be amused.

 

Jen Kehl is the Music Director of her universe. She created Raised on the Radio after she realized her missed callings in life, were actual jobs – Boss of Music or Radio DJ. Now Raised on the Radio helps her live her dream. Since Woody Allen lives in her mind, there is the possibility he may be attempting to escape through music, don’t mind him, he’s harmless.