Monday, October 18, 2010

Country Music Month; The Texas Connection - The Gambler

One of the biggest Country Music stars of the '70s and "80s hails from Houston, Texas. The dude had what seems like thousands of songs that hit the top of the Country and Pop charts, making him one of the most successful crossover artists ever. Kenneth Donald Rogers has been a star singer/songwriter/actor for more than forty years. Overall, his career has spanned six decades. Rogers was one the first Country singers to make hit movies in addition to his songs being featured in the soundtracks of major motion pictures. such as Convoy, The Big Lebowski and Urban Cowboy.

In 1967, as a member of The First Edition, Rogers cranked out some great records including Reuben James, Ruby (Don't Take Your Love to Town) written by Mel Tillis, Just Dropped in to See What Condition My Condition Was In and Something's Burning. Great songs, all, but my favorite out that bunch is Reuben James.
Rogers also released smash hits as duets with partners including Dolly Parton, Islands in the Stream, Sheena Easton, with the Bob Seger classic, We've Got Tonight, and several hits with the late Dottie West, What Are We Doin' in Love. Click on any of those links and explore the music of Kenny Rogers. I had forgotten just many smash hits and awards the man had to his name. It seems almost impossible to be that successful.

Here's a list of Kenny's songs that are my personal favorites along with Reuben James that I previously mentioned.

  • The Greatest - this one brings back a flood of memories from my childhood. It also reminds me of my Dad. 
  • The Gambler - one of the biggest Country hits ever, later made into a movie or two. Another one my Dad liked a lot.
  • Lucille - who doesn't know this song? Gotta include it.
  • Morning Desire - the title says it all. I really like this one.
There are, of course, dozens of other songs I could list  here, but Wikipedia has already done that for me and they also have a good bio on Kenny. For a man who as a child shared a room with something like eight siblings and whose father made only sixty dollars a week, I'd Kenny Rogers ended up doing OK for himself. Rogers has never forgotten those poverty-stricken days and has donated and help raise millions of dollars for the needy. Kenny Rogers is The Greatest.

9 comments:

  1. Kenny Rogers has always been one of my favorites. A side note, his great lead guitarist, whom because a a momentary brain fart, I can't remember his name, got his start here in San Angelo. I was playing a gig with the Al Ricci group at the Officers Club at Goodfellow AFB here. Al booked this kid to play with us. He showed up in torn jeans and a sloppy shirt, where we more dressed for the occasion. However, he done a bang-up job for us. And he certainly went on to great things. I'll let you know when I can remmber his name. Maybe I can Google it. (You may remember)

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  2. Thanks for another great comment, Bob!

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  3. Aha!! I got it!! I remembered the guitarist's name. Randy Dorman. Played with Rogers in the 80s-90s I believe. His dad was a local guy Bruce Dorman, a golf buddy of mine and he was a pilot for GTE. I think Randy put out some singles of his fine guitar work.

    Bob

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  4. Randy Dorman is a name I am familiar with! I don't know why but it rings a bell with me. Thanks, Bob!

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  5. Kenny developed his own style and niche. The only person I ever met that had anything bad to say about him was one of his ex-wives.
    I got to know Bobby Doyle in Austin, where he played solo at a saloon near the UT campus in the late 70's. A gifted musician, he was a wild man, when I knew him. He got drunk often and spittin' mad more often than not when he was drinking. For a blind man he had an amazing ability to compensate for that lost sense with others. One story repeated often about Bobby was one night he was banging the keys and singing his heart out, when he heard the voice of some one in the audience that he truly didn't like. They said he stopped, turned his head and tuned in on the voice, then threw a nearly full can of beer at the guy and nailed him in the forehead.
    I didn't see it, but many that did laughed and told me it was true and Bobby never denied it happening.
    I was cautioned early and often to NEVER bring up Kenny or mention his name around Bobby.

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  6. Thanks for a great story, n2l!

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  7. Toby, I googled Randy Dorman and found that he joined Kenny Rogers in 1977. Check out this link for one of his more modern singles. The kid made it good. :-)

    http://ilike.myspacecdn.com/play#Randy+Dorman:I+Will+Always+Love+You:27323844:s72455645.16409183.44724970.0.2.177%2Cstd_7089190f4f944de0aa324d2add432527

    I hope the link worked for you. If not there are several sites about him and his music.

    Bob

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  8. Okay, one more comment on Randy Dorman. According to his website, www.randydorman.com. He is still with Rogers. I wish I had stayed up with him. He has made San Angeloans proud.

    Bob

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  9. Bob...thanks for the link. You're right. that boy ain't half bad. Good stuff.

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