KENNY ROGERS (1938-2020)

It was1968, and I was in my sophomore year at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. I played in a folk group led by Jaime Fernandez, a Chilean artist and student. We played almost every weekend, usually flying out in a Cherokee Piper Cub, to college campuses around the country, playing and fronting for the likes of SergioMendez, Dionne Warwick, The Association and others.

In early Spring, we were invited to perform at a showcase event in Minneapolis for college and corporate talent buyers, featuring artists represented by Beacom and Associates, headed by Harry Beacom.

Performing at the closing of this event was “Kenny Rogers and The First Edition”, who had just released, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” on Reprise Records. He had just left “The New ChristY Minstrels” after performing with them for 6+ years.

I was thunderstruck at hearing his voice that night. It was effortless and warm. He knew how to create theater, however subtle. This was great artistry up close and personal, that for me, was unforgettable.

Later in the 1980’s, at Jack Clement’s recording facility, Sound Emporium in Nashville, I was working on a Larnelle Harris record, and Kenny had been in the studio the previous week. On that Sunday night, I came in to make sure the drums had been set up so they could settle in for the session the next day. Billy Sherrill, one of the great recording engineers in country music worked on that project for Kenny, but it was another wonderful engineer, Gary Laney, who was working at the studio that night whom I asked how the sessions had gone. He told me they completed most of the project that week, with just a few overdubs and mix to do the next week. I couldn’t believe how quickly his albums were recorded and his vocals completed. This is in the day when singers sang without tuners, and the vocal was what it was.

His voice was smooth, comfortable, and I felt like he was inviting me into his story, and his heart.

The words, iconic and legendary are being used way too often these days…yet for Kenny Rogers…they are well worn…richly deserved.

In early Spring, we were invited to a showcase event in Minneapolis for college and corporate talent buyers, featuring artists represented by Beacom and Associates, headed by Harry Beacom.

Performing at the closing of this event was “Kenny Rogers and The First Edition”, who had just released, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” on Reprise Records. He had just left “The New ChristY Minstrels” after performing with them for 6+ years.

I was thunderstruck at hearing his voice that night. It was effortless and warm. He knew how to create theater, however subtle. This was great artistry up close and personal, that for me, was unforgettable.

Later in the 1980’s, at Jack Clement’s studio, Sound Emporium in Nashville, I was working on a Larnelle Harris record, and Kenny had been in the studio the previous week. On that Sunday night, I came in to make sure the drums had been set up so they could settle in for the session the next day. I spoke to Gary Laney who was working there at the time, and asked him how the sessions had gone. He told me they completed the entire project that week. I couldn’t believe how quickly his albums were recorded and his vocals completed. This is in the day when singers sang without tuners, and the vocal was what it was.

His voice was smooth, comfortable, and I felt like he was inviting me into his story, and his heart. i think When you saw that smile and heard him sing…In a curious way, you’d just met him.

The words, iconic and legendary are being used way too often these days…yet for Kenny Rogers…they are well worn…richly deserved.

2 thoughts on “KENNY ROGERS (1938-2020)

Leave a Reply to Jayne Farrell Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s