Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Save A Place For Me

Okay, so here's the really condensed version of a part of my life very, very few of you have known existed prior to this post. A large part of my twenties were spent on the road with my husband, Rick, helping him provide the sound system for a lot of very famous names in the music business. From monster rock and roll names of the time such as The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Supertramp, Alice Cooper, and Gladys Knight and the Pips to dozens of amazing, wonderful smaller acts such as Leo Kotke, Steve Goodman, Bonnie Raitt, Manhattan Transfer, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Sedaka, Wendy Waldman, Maria Muldaur, Phoebe Snow, and on and on and on.

One act was Chuck Mangione on the 1977 Feels So Good tour, and it was absolutely one of the very best I ever heard. So I was dismayed to hear just the other day that band members Gerry Niewood and Coleman Mellett had died on the terrible commuter plane crash in Buffalo, NY this past February.

And then, just a few minutes ago, I heard that a lovely man had who I and so MANY others held in the highest of musical esteem and appreciation, Kenny Rankin, died at age 69 of lung cancer. This is being written through a veil of tears, for when I hear the Rankin's Silver Morning album, I instantly remember how it felt to be completely in love with my husband in 1975.

Kenny Rankin was a musician's musician, with a glorious tenor voice of beautiful range and timbre, and an ability to interpret songs in his own distinctive and delicious manner. Kenny's reworking of The Beatles' "Blackbird" was the first time aside from Joe Cocker's "A Little Help From My Friends" that I'd ever heard anyone brave - or good enough to tackle a Beatles tune. Rankin's version so impressed Paul McCartney that he asked Kenny to represent himself and John Lennon when they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

Silver Morning is one of my all-time top ten favourite albums, and one I would definitely want along with me on a desert island. Here's a sweet young Kenny Rankin singing and playing "Oh So Peaceful Here" off the Silver Morning album...

And here, some 30 or so years later in 2007, is Mr. Rankin with his (stunning? phenomenal? great? searching unsuccessfully for a word here) version of "Round Midnight"

I am SO glad I got to hear these wonderful, unique artists voices, the world is a much better place for them having been here. And guys? Please, PLEASE save a place for me at your sessions...I can hardly wait.

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