Kenny Rogers delivers a final farewell in the emotional track “Goodbye,” a newly-rediscovered track which now takes on a whole new meaning. “Goodbye” was one of the last songs Rogers recorded during a brief tenure with Capitol Records — and before now was only available on a greatest-hits collection, Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years. After his death, executives at the label found the track and decided to send it to country radio, a fitting tribute to a true country legend.
‘Goodbye’ was one of the last recordings Kenny did for Capitol Records,” the label explained in an announcement. “Those closest to Kenny wanted to make this track available to all of his fans.”
“Goodbye” was written about the end of a relationship, a classically-themed ballad with Rogers’ rich, tender vocals leading the way. But now it feels like a fond goodbye from “The Gambler” to his fans.
“There’s peace in where you are, maybe all I need to know / and if I listen to my heart I’ll hear your laughter once more / and so I have to say, I’m just glad you came my way / it’s not easy to say goodbye,” goes the moving track.
Rogers, the Country Music Hall of Fame member who sold over 100 million records in his lifetime and topped the charts with hits such as “Lady” (another song penned by Richie), died March 20 at the age of 81 years old.
His life and career will be highlighted on an upcoming A&E mini-documentary which features interviews with Parton, Richie, Chris Stapleton, Reba McEntire, Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, Jamey Johnson, and more.
When in Nashville and in the company of the music industry crowd and you mention the name “Marty Martel” everyone knows exactly who you are talking about. It is safe to say that Marty Martel not only was but is a Legend in the music industry in Nashville. Marty Martel, has done so much and been more places than most people we know. During Marty’s exciting and successful career, he has performed as a solo artist on tour, a bandleader, written #1 hit songs and currently still a world-class promoter, booking agent, producer and that’s just a few things that come to mind when mentioning some of Marty’s accomplishments.
He writes books and articles for various print and internet web sites. Marty even had his own weekly news program on worldwide radio, called “Off The Cuff News” where he tells the news like it is and Off The Cuff. He has known and been friends with most everyone in the music business, and we mean everyone, you name them Marty has known them and still knows them. Marty has earned the respect of all who have had the privilege of crossing his path, and everyone respects him for his knowledge and integrity in this the music business. He owns his own promotion companies and lives and operates mostly from Nashville Tennessee. There is so much more to Marty than what we have printed here,
He will be missed by all who knew him and those who may not have heard of him, as if there is anyone, will wish they did know him. He was a great man and a friend to all, Hall Of Fame Member, Marty Martel.
Donna Cunningham: This morning I lost the man who is responsible for getting me started in Nashville. Mr. Marty Martel. He believed in me and loved the idea that I was older when I got started in the business. I met him on his birthday in 2008. He set up the first meeting at John A’s and I knew we would be great friends when he walked through the door. Three years later he introduced me to Allen and because of that, I’ve had this career. Marty arranged for Allen and I to record our first duet together and several others after it. I will always be so grateful.
Marty had a sense of humor that I loved. There was always an ornery little twinkle in his eye. He always said what he thought and I admire that. I’ve lost track of the number of lunches and dinners we shared, too many to count, but I always looked forward to seeing him. He would call on the phone and ask, “How’s my Ohio girl?” He will always have a special place in my heart. My sympathy and love to Tammi, Brittney, Chris, Deron & Shannon. “Thank you, Marty, for everything. Love you always.”
Tom Wardle: Just learned that my long-time old friend, Marty Martel, has passed away. Marty was a recording artist in his younger days and became very active in the country music scene as an artist manager and promoter. He put together many outstanding package shows. Rest in peace, old friend. You’ll be missed.
Harley Back: really sorry to hear this, me and Marty go back a long way, Played bass for him about 4 or so years, we had some really good times together R.I.P my friend.
Thomas Paden: I knew Marty for 30 years and he has recorded many of my songs on the artists he’s produced. He was a nice guy and this news is so sad to hear. Rest In Peace Marty.
Allen Karl: I just wanted to say a couple words about a truly dear friend that we’ve all just lost. Marty Martel was an icon in Nashville, Tennessee. He was my promoter for many years and that working relationship turned into a personal one. He helped me take many songs to number one both here in the US and also in Europe. He became one of my dearest friends, my promoter, and the man who gave me advice, he was always there for me as I hope I was for him. He’s the one who introduced me to Donna and helped to make our career become one of the most successful duos in independent country music. I haven’t been able to see Marty for a while because of his illness but last June Julie Richardson brought him to a Century II Show and we brought him up on stage to honor him for “Don’t Tell Me That You’re Gone” a song he wrote that Donna recorded which went to number one on several charts. It was a very special evening that I will always keep it in my heart just as I will always keep Marty in my heart. He was a very talented man, a very special man, and a dear dear friend. RIP, Marty, the country music business has lost a great friend, as have I.
Dean Holmen: Very sorry I only got to meet him the one time at our Show Donna. I always heard a lot of good things about him. Sorry for your loss.
Julie Keech-Harris: Oh my gosh so sad to hear this, Marty was an awesome guy, I hold dear some of his talks and advice he gave me. Praying for all his friends & family
Terry Crabtree: Very sorry Donna, he was a good man and good to you, I’m glad I got to meet him!!
Michael Grande Polacco: Beautiful memories of a wonderful man. The loss of a dear friend is a deep hurt. But think of how blessed you are to have had him in your life. RIP Marty.
Chuck Hancock: Oh so sorry to hear about Marty. I loved that man. He believed in my music and promoted me for several years Everyone respected and loved him
I will miss him and never forget his dedication to me and my music
Brenda Porter-Key: So sorry to hear this…Marty was a wonderful guy and will be missed by very many. He was one of the first people Ross and I met when we came to Nashville in early 2011. He will be greatly missed…. Prayers for all… RIP Marty.
Shar Stephens: So sorry. He was a good friend. God Bless, RIP “Go Rest High On That Mountain” You will be missed.
There were hundreds of comments on social media about Marty. It is very clear that so many loved this man and are terribly saddened by his passing. Please keep in your prayers the immediate family and all of us who loved him so much. He will be greatly missed but now he enjoys the rewards of our God’s Heaven’s.
Marty Martel, has done so much, and been more places than most people we know. During Marty’s exciting and successful career, he has performed as a solo artist on tour, a band leader, written #1 hit songs and a world-class promoter, booking agent, producer and that’s just a few things that comes to mind when mentioning some of Marty’s accomplishments
Vocalist Kenny Rogers, who dominated the pop and country charts in the 1970s and 1980s with a string of sleekly tailored hits and won three Grammys, has died. He was 81. Rogers “passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” a representative for the singer said in a statement. Due to the national COVID-19 emergency, the family is planning a small private service at this time with a public memorial planned for a later date.
Rogers had announced a farewell tour in 2015 and was able to keep it going through December 2017. In April 2018, shortly before he was to spend a few months finishing out the tour after a break, he announced that he was having to call off the remaining dates (including a planned appearance at the Stagecoach Festival in California), due to unspecified “health challenges.” “I didn’t want to take forever to retire,” Rogers said his April 2018 statement.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to say farewell to the fans over the course of the past two years on ‘The Gambler’s Last Deal’ tour. I could never properly thank them for the encouragement and support they’ve given me throughout my career and the happiness I’ve experienced as a result of that.”
A special, “Biography: Kenny Rogers,” had been announced by A&E earlier this month, set to air April 13. The special is said to be largely built around footage from the all-star salute Rogers received in Nashville on Oct. 25, 2017, just a couple of months before his final concert appearances. Among the guests who joined him for that sentimental sendoff at the Bridgestone Arena were Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Don Henley, Kris Kristofferson, Alison Krauss, Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, Reba McEntire, the Flaming Lips and the Judds.
Rogers’ signature song “The Gambler” was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2018. It was the most recent of a lifetime of honors bestowed on the singer, which included induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, three Grammys and six CMA Awards.
Rogers was one of the progenitors of country-pop crossover at the superstar level. “I came into country music not trying to change country music but trying to survive,” he said in a 2016 interview with CMT.com. “And so I did songs that were not country but were more pop. Nowadays they’re not doing country songs at all. What they’re doing is creating their own genre of country music. But I told somebody the other day, country music is what country people will buy. If the country audience doesn’t buy it, they’ll kick it out. And if they do, then it becomes country music. It’s just era of country music we’re in.”
After establishing himself commercially via rock- and pop-oriented singles with his group the First Edition, the bearded, prematurely gray Rogers was launched into the top rank of crossover country artists with a string of singles for United Artists Records.
His appealing, sometimes gritty voice propelled 20 solo 45s to No. 1 on the country charts from 1977-87. Two of them, his 1980 reading of Lionel Richie’s “Lady” and his 1983 collaboration with Dolly Parton “Islands in the Stream” (penned by the Bee Gees), also topped the pop lists. He worked profitably with a number of other female vocalists, including Dottie West, Sheena Easton, Kim Carnes and Anne Murray. Country historian Bill C. Malone noted that Rogers’ ingratiating style “has been the chief source of his immense success. Rogers is a consummate storyteller, with an intimate and compelling style that almost demands the listener’s concentration. When his husky tenor voice slips down into a raspy, gravelly register, as it sometimes does, Rogers pulls the listener even further into his confidence.”
Rogers parlayed his music success into a successful side career as an actor. His 1978 country chart-topper “The Gambler” spawned five popular TV movies, while some of his other hits also inspired small-screen features.
Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Country Music Association the same year.
Born and raised in Houston, he was the fourth of eight children in a poor family. He took to the guitar as an adolescent, and would sometimes perform with another aspiring local musician and future star, Mickey Gilley.
His early professional career was stylistically eclectic. While in high school, he formed a vocal group, the Scholars, which recorded for Carlton Records, a local label. After a brief stint at the University of Houston, he played bass with the jazz groups of Bobby Doyle and Kirby Stone. After moving to Los Angeles in 1966, he joined the folk-pop unit the New Christy Minstrels, a group that also numbered such performers as Carnes, the Byrds’ Gene Clark, “Eve of Destruction” vocalist Barry McGuire and the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Jerry Yester among its members at one time or another.
With fellow Minstrels Mike Settle, Terry Williams and Thelma Camacho, Rogers founded the rock-leaning group the First Edition in 1967. Fronted by Rogers (whose name would be appended to the act’s moniker in 1969), the group notched two top 10 pop hits: “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” (No. 5, 1968), a version of Mickey Newbury’s slice of pop psychedelia, and “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” (No. 6, 1969), Mel Tillis’ downbeat song about the faithless wife of a handicapped Vietnam vet.
The First Edition’s fortunes began to wane in the early ’70s, and Rogers signed a solo deal with UA in 1976. He struck almost immediate pay dirt with “Lucille,” an absorbing vignette about a barroom encounter with a disillusioned woman and her estranged husband. The number became Rogers’ first No. 1 country hit and reached No. 5 on the national pop chart. It also scored Rogers his first Grammy, for best male country vocal performance. Rogers also partnered with longtime female star West, and the duo racked up three No. 1 country singles for UA and then Liberty in 1978-81: “Every Time Two Fools Collide,” “All I Ever Need Is You” and “What Are We Doin’ in Love.”
He notched five more No. 1 solo country singles by the end of the decade. The biggest of these were the Grammy-winning “The Gambler” (also No. 16 pop in 1978) and the backwoods narrative “Coward of the County” (also No. 3 pop in 1979). They pushed the albums “The Gambler” and “Kenny” to No. 12 and No. 5, respectively, on the pop album charts. Each inspired a popular TV movie; Rogers would portray Brady Hawkes, the protagonist of “The Gambler,” in a series of telepics that ran through 1994.
On the heels of a No. 1 greatest hits set in 1980, Rogers’ hits of the decade for Liberty and RCA found him moving increasingly into pop terrain and focusing on romantic balladry. “Lady” and “Islands in the Stream” (the latter one of many duets with frequent partner Parton) solidified his standing as country’s biggest crossover attraction; his rendering of Bob Seger’s “We’ve Got Tonight” with Sheena Easton ruled the country chart and rose to No. 6 on the pop chart. In all, he recorded 23 top 10 country hits during the decade, five of which crossed to the pop side.
Though it failed to even dent the pop charts, “Make No Mistake, She’s Mine,” Rogers’ duet with singer-pianist Ronnie Milsap (and a remake of a duet by former bandmate Kim Carnes and Barbra Streisand) became Rogers’ next-to-last No. 1 country single in 1987. It also reaped a Grammy for best country vocal duet performance.
Like many other stars of his era, Rogers began to fall out of fashion in the ’90s, as a younger generation of country musicians flexing a less countrypolitan style supplanted him. He made his last toplining appearance in a pair of telepics as reformed gambler Jack MacShayne in 1994. In 1999, he notched a final No. 1 country hit, “Buy Me a Rose,” with Billy Dean and Alison Krauss.
In the new millennium, sporadic releases on a number of independent labels and majors Capitol Nashville and Warner Bros. Nashville performed respectably on the country album charts but produced no major hits.
From the ’90s forward, as he maintained a busy touring schedule, Rogers increasingly turned his attention to various entrepreneurial enterprises, opening a chain of fast-food chicken outlets, Kenny Rogers Roasters, and a Sprint car manufacturing firm, Gamblers Chassis.
He issued a memoir, “Luck or Something Like It,” in 2012, and a novel, “What Are the Chances,” in 2013. That same year, he was the recipient of the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. He received a similar honor from CMT with its Artist of a Lifetime Award in 2015. Always active on the road, Rogers announced his retirement in September 2015, not long after a widely aired commercials for Geico insurance saw him reprising “The Gambler” for comedic effect.
At the Oct. 25, 2017 tribute concert in Nashville, Rogers joined in jocular exchanges with some of the homage-payers, notably Parton, who quipped, “I want to see what condition your condition’s really in.” They reprised their recorded duets of “You Can’t Make Old Friends” and “Islands In The Stream,” and Parton additionally sang him her own signature song, “I Will Always Love You.” Footage of the 2017 concert was filmed by Blackbird Productions but went unseen until it was set for inclusion in the A&E “Biography” special airing in April.
“I hope my fans understand that I’m a father first and a singer second,” Rogers said about his planned retirement from touring, in a 2016 interview with CMT.com, mentioning at that time that he had 11-year-old twin boys with his wife, Wanda Miller. “As it turns out, I’m missing some very great parts of my boys’ lives. I know as well as anybody else how that time gets away from you. And I don’t want to miss it. I just worry about how much longer I’m going to be here, and I want to have time to spend with them. It’s pretty simple.” Married five times, Rogers is survived by his last wife Wanda and five children.
– Variety (Chris Morris)
AIRPLAY EXPRESS www.airplayexpress.com has released the single “GET BACK ON THAT HORSE AND RIDE,” the first of over 50 songs co-written and recorded by California Country Rock legend and multi-instrumentalist Chris Darrow and his co-writer and friend Los Angeles singer, songwriter and producer Eddie Leroy Cunningham www.eddieleroycunningham.com
Darrow died at age 75 on January 15, 2020 in Claremont, California from complications of a stroke leaving an unfillable void in the lives of all who knew and loved him and revered his music www.allmusic.com/artist/chris-darrow-mn0000108096
In addition to the songs they wrote together, Darrow and Cunningham co-wrote with Country Music Hall of Fame writers Dennis Knutson and A.L.“Doodle” Owens as well as with Michael Rodgers, Michael Alan Ward, Gordy Thomas, Judy Toy, Spike Loudermilk, and many others.
DARROW CUNNINGHAM’S first CD was “A NIGHT AT NADINE’S” (Nadine was Chris’s mother and the name of his studio.) Their second CD, yet unnamed, will be released by Cunningham later this year.
Darrow and Cunningham’s gentle yet powerful first song, produced by Chris Darrow at studio Nadine, speaks to the lessons of courage, strength and persistence taught by a father to his son and for the generations to come. It is more beautiful for the sensitive storytelling, depth of heart and uncompromising emotional truth of Cunningham’s uniquely authentic and richly nuanced vocals. Both artists contribute inspired and mindful guitar with Darrow adding bass and back up vocals. The song is prominently supported and significantly elevated by Jerry Waller on piano who told Cunningham, “I played on probably as many of Chris’s recordings as any individual.”
Moments of sparse orchestration allow the lyrics and Cunningham’s honest and pure vocals to really shine. When his voice rises, so does the harmonic support while the kinetic motion of Waller’s sparkling piano provides a current that keeps everything flowing. The momentary strings are like the blood flowing through his veins and the pacing is the perfect blueprint for their emotional message. The instruments work so well together that a rhythm section is not even needed, the pulse and heartbeat are built-in.
That Chris Darrow and Eddie Cunningham were intuitively and creatively aligned was evident on their first day co-writing. On his way over to studio Nadine, Cunningham wrote down a song title on a brown paper bag. When he arrived, Darrow said, “GET BACK ON THAT HORSE AND RIDE.” Cunningham replied, “What do you think I wrote down on my way over here?”
The depth of loss felt acutely by Cunningham is clearly reflected in his vivid recollection of the long-enduring and profound creative rapport he shared with his prolific co-writer, the remarkable musician, transcendent soul and beloved friend that was Chris Darrow.
“It was fun writing songs with Chris,” Cunningham thoughtfully reflected. “We could always come up with something and we had a way that we constructed the song. Mostly we would make three sections and link it all together with a solo and then go back to our favorite section or a bridge which Chris would always go to A (minor). I’d say, ‘We did that on our last song’ and he’d say, ‘Cause we are in the same key.’ Then he’d say, ‘Where would you go?’ and I’d go to another chord and back to our favorite section and he’d say, ‘Ok let’s record it.’”
“Sometimes Chris would play all the instruments or if somebody stopped by we’d get them on it, like Jerry Waller who was there when we recorded “GET BACK ON THAT HORSE AND RIDE.” He added the most beautiful piano and really took the song to a whole new level. We had a bunch of guest musicians on our tunes. Even Pat Cloud played killer banjo on a Spanish tune and if his sister Elizabeth popped in the studio she’d sing harmony with us.”
“After working all night on a song, Chris would have a rough mix for us to listen to and then he would refine it and add some bitchin’ lap steel or mandolin and in no time we’d have another tune. Sometimes Chris would sing lead and I’d do harmony and play guitar. He liked my upside down playing guitar righty turned lefty sound and would always want to feature it in our songs. And sometimes I’d stack vocals and Chris loved to sing bass under that.”
“GET BACK ON THAT HORSE AND RIDE” was a first take vocal and Chris didn’t like me to re-do vocals unless I messed up words. He’d always say, ‘That’s good, it captures the right emotion.’ I was used to re-singing a bunch of vocals and comp the best.”
“The nicest compliment we ever received about the song was from Paul Worley, head of A&R at Warner Brothers Records Nashville who said, ‘Vincent Van Gogh had his “Starry Night” and that is what this song is to you.’ Rock music legend Kim Fowley’s comment to us was, ‘The stars were aligned the night you wrote that song. “GET BACK ON THAT HORSE AND RIDE” is your rising star.’”
“Chris’s forte was when he played lap steel,” Cunningham continued. “I always wanted a lap steel solo but he was very selective on what tunes he thought deserved it. The recording process with him was pretty awesome ‘cause he could play so many instruments. Sometimes I’d say, ‘Hey, what would that sound like on our song?’ and it was something like a squeezebox or a WMI (Weird Mexican Instrument). Chris was game to add anything and when he was alone after I’d leave, he’d put more stuff on the songs as he felt it.”
“While working with Chris on our material in studio Nadine, it was an old school 8-track at first and then he went to a digital format that was on a high tech cassette kinda like a DAT (Digital Audio Tape) but in the size of a cassette. We recorded a lot on that machine. I hope Chris’s son Steven will research all that history and put out more of Chris’s music in future years.”
“Chris was not only a virtuoso on many instruments but a gifted storyteller and a very adaptable songwriter of many styles and situations. He could co-write with anyone I teamed him up with and anyone he wanted to write with. He always had his thumbprint on the song. I think that’s why we hit it off so well as writers because it’s where I shine the most, being adaptable in any writing scenario.”
“Almost every time I got together with Chris we wrote a song and recorded it. Even if we were just getting together to chat and hang out if a title came out of our conversation, boom…we’d write another one. I know I will write a Chris Darrow tribute song. I have so many ideas in my mind right now, I will let them brew around and see which one comes to the surface. I’m sure in some sorta way Chris will guide me through this one and it will be fitting.”
“I think anyone reading this most likely will know what Chris has done,” said Cunningham. “He will be remembered most as an innovator of California Country Rock and a pioneer of mixing American Psychedelic Folk-Rock Bluegrass with World Beat Music. This tribute is not about me, what I’ve done or what I’m doing, it’s about what I’ve learned from Chris and how easy it was to write a song with him. He was an awesome friend and healer who gave generously of himself to others. His door was always open and I was always in the right place when I spent time with The King of The Inland Empire.”
“My favorite performance with Chris was at The Longhorn Music Festival at Mt. Baldy Lodge. (It’s on YouTube.) My greatest memory of him is cruisin’ in his ‘55 Nomad “Charlena” going to IN-N-OUT BURGER. What did I learn the most from Chris? So much, it’s hard to pick one thing. I liked it when we were working on a tune, if I drifted a little too far he’d say, ‘Stick to the story’ and then I’d focus and come up with something really good. And he’d say, ‘Thatta boy.’”
“I miss the hell out of him,” said Cunningham, “and this first-time single release of “GET BACK ON THAT HORSE AND RIDE” is my way of honoring my friend and co-writer Chris Darrow. He believed in this song so much and I’m going to do my damndest to get it out there. He was a treasure in my world and anyone who doesn’t know Chris Darrow, just Google him and look at his discography and all the major bands he was part of. He wrote “WHIPPING BOY” that Ben Harper recorded. Chris is a true music legend and he would want everyone to “GET BACK ON THAT HORSE AND RIDE!”
“I will keep Chris Darrow’s memory alive by always playing “GET BACK ON THAT HORSE AND RIDE” at gigs, giving him a shoutout onstage and turning people on to his music,” Cunningham said with conviction. “I have so many parts of songs we started and I will eventually finish them. And when I do, I’m sure Chris’s guidance will be at hand. He will be missed by the Claremont music world and his music will live on for generations to come.”
– Two Poets Music & Media
Lance was admitted to the hospital eight weeks ago after experiencing heart problems. The Country music veteran’s health deteriorated after he fell while in hospital care and broke his hip which led to an infection.
Lance was later forced to undergo emergency surgery for a hip replacement due to the fall. Unfortunately, after that, his condition continued to worsen. This prompted the Doctor to transfer the legendary Country Singer to the Intensive Care Unit where he sadly passed away today being Monday morning March 2, 2020.
Lance James was affectionately known by all his friends and thousands of fans as “Big Daddy” Lance was always in high demand for appearances across South Africa, everybody loved him.
Lance James Inducted In IDSS Hall Of Fame South Africa: Recording Artist Lance James Inducted into Independent Superstars Hall Of fame: Lance James has been inducted into the Independent Superstars Recording Artists Hall of Fame. Frans Maritz of Wildhorse Entertainment, located in South Africa, signed the official certificate placing Lance James into this prestigious organization. Lance James has the distinct honor of being inducted into the IDSS Hall of Fame for his lifetime contribution to the Music Industry, which he truly has been a huge part of for most of his life. Lance James is seen in the picture below with the award confirming his induction into the HALL OF FAME In an email to WHISNews21, Lance James expressed his thanks on being inducted into the IDSS Hall Of Fame.
“I love the award, and look forward to hanging it up in my home. Thank you so much, I am very flattered” Lance James
Biography of Lance James: Lance James is a versatile performer who specializes in corporate functions, concerts, cabaret, dances, barn-dances, weddings, shopping centers, and in-store promotions. He has been in show business for more than 50 years and is considered as one of the top entertainers ever in South Africa who has an excellent rapport with his audiences.
His awards are too many to list but include 2 ATKV Honorary Awards for his contribution to music in South Africa. He has also received a Beeld Award for contribution to Afrikaans music, a Solidarity Award for his contribution to music, 6 Sarie Awards, several awards for “Best Album of the Year”, and recently the “Vonk Music Magazine” Life Time Achievement Award (2007). Lance has appeared on numerous top TV shows which include “Dis Hoe Dit Is”, “Kwêla”, “Noot vir Noot”, “Good Morning Live”, just to name a few.
On radio, Lance started broadcasting in 1954 and is still on the air on “Radio Today” 14.85 MW He has made concert appearances in virtually every town and city in South Africa, he has appeared in schools, church halls, city halls and in the top venues e.g Sun City Superbowl, The Carousel, Emperors Palace, Champions, Carnival City, Graceland, Emerald Casino, Thaba Nchu, The Ridge and Marula Sun just to name a few, for the top companies in South Africa. Lance has also appeared in England, Ireland, Spain, Germany, and the USA. Lance has about 70 recorded albums to his credit, most recently “One Day at a Time” gospel (2005), “50 Goue Jare” (2006), to celebrate 50 years in music, and in 2007 he released a “live” DVD “50 Goue Jare”. He also appears on “Toeka 2” (2006) and “Country Legends” (2007) and “Ek Sing vir jou Bles” (2007) DVD. His latest double CD “It Is No Secret” was released mid-February 2008 and ‘Nader my God” released in May 2008. Lance has been a constant seller all these years. He is a class performer, and always in great demand for appearances throughout South Africa. His energy, passion, and love of entertaining know no bounds. “Big Daddy” Lance James, well-known and versatile entertainer, celebrated, with great pride, his 50th Golden Anniversary in the Music Business in South Africa, in 2006.
The biggest question being asked every year around the world by millions of Elvis Presley fans, is the King Of Rock ‘n Roll really dead? Well is he? Yes, he is really dead, no, he is still pretty much alive, well in which category do you fall in. Now for me, I don’t know, but I would really want to believe he is still alive, don’t you? Oh, come on, if you wish he were dead, you are one of the few non-Elvis fans, and truth be told I have not met one Elvis fan who wishes he was not still alive. The internet is full of articles and even some pictures of Elvis Sighting all over the world, even at your local Walmart. So with all the so-called proof of “The King Of Rock ‘n Roll still being alive, then why do some believe he passed away just over 40 years ago, on August 16, 1977. I mean did he or didn’t he perform live, well sort of, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra just the other day. All I can say is if he is still alive we wish him well and grant him the peace he so very well deserved and organized for himself, while still thanking him for the music that rocked the world.
LaBeef was born in Smackover, Arkansas, the youngest of 10 children,he was raised on a melon farm. He received the nickname “Sleepy” as the result of a lazy eye. He moved to Houston, Texas, when he was 18. There, he sang gospel music on local radio and put together a bar band to play venues as well as radio programs such as the Houston Jamboree and Louisiana Hayride. LaBeef stands 6.5 ft (2.0 m) tall.
The following are some tributes posted on social media to honor the life and the legacy of the Great Sleepy LaBeef.
Linda LaBeef and Entire Family: It is with deep, agonizing sadness that we inform you of the news that this morning, Sleepy LaBeef, born Thomas Paulsley LaBeff, passed on from this life to be with the Lord. He died at home, in his own bed, surrounded by his family who loved him, and whom he dearly loved. He lived a full and vibrant life, filled with the excitement of much travel and experience, the contentment that came from being able to spend his life doing what he loved best, and the fulfilling love of his wife, children, and grandchildren around him. We loved him, love him, and will always love him, and will cherish the memories of the time we were blessed to be given with him in this life. We thank you for your love and support for Sleepy throughout the years, and during this very difficult time. – With all our love.
Pete Djpj Paraskevas: The news is spreading. Sleepy LaBeef has passed away. I had the pleasure to meet and work with him a few times in Portland, Maine. Great guy, great musician, biggest one I know of. An upright bass looked like a violin in his hands. May your memories be eternal.
Matthew Mcghee: Rock And Roll Sleepy!! Simon Chardiet Scott Kitchen Glenn Healy and your band blew up the Continental D ! I spent the entire weekend there, probably should have just slept there but Roger would have thrown my ass out 🙂 Sleepy WAS a human jukebox..
Tracy Moon: So sorry to hear about the loss of a great man he was a great singer and musician
Janne Smeds A true Gentleman has gone to heaven. He won’t be forgotten… RIP
Deke Dickerson: I woke up to the news that rockabilly great Sleepy LaBeef just passed away, and saw that just about every one of my friends and colleagues had a story about the guy. We all got to spend so much time with him over the years, myself included, and we’re all richer because of it. Sleepy was one of the original 50’s rockabillies, he made excellent records for Starday, Mercury, Dixie, and Wayside. In a way he was one of the first “50’s revivalists,” cutting greasy rock and roll records all through the British Invasion years of the mid-60’s, but the truth was that Sleepy existed in a Gulf Coast world of rough bars and sleazy dives where the hard driving 50’s rock and roll mixed with classic country never went away. Sleepy was HUGE.
Frans Maritz AirplayExpress: Being from South Africa I only discovered Sleepy LaBeef a year or two ago while searchin’ the Internet for a newer version of “Staggerlee”. I did find many but they were either badly recorded, badly sung. I am not saying they were all bad as some were pretty good and some were just too clean if you know what I mean. Then just as I was about to give up, I clicked on a version by “Sleepy LaBeef” not knowing what to expect as I had never heard of him before. Well it took about 10 seconds for me to realized I had not just found me the best version of ‘Staggerlee” I had ever heard, but I also found me a great singer and just like that I was a fan of the great “Sleepy LaBeef”. Today I am also very saddened to hear that he has passed away, I will make a place in my musical heart for him right next to Elvis Presley and George Jones. Thank you for the music “Sleepy LaBeef” I wish I had known of you earlier or even personally you are a legend in my Musical World.
Deke Dickerson Continued:I Sleep was Huge, always referred to him as a ‘Man-Mountain,’ and I always found it comical when I loaned him a guitar or upright bass and it looked like a ukulele or a toothpick on his large frame. His girth enabled him to portray “The Swamp Thing” (a large, semi-naked caveman/wildman character) in the 1968 exploitation film “The Exotic Ones,” a memorable film moment, if you’ve ever had the good fortune to screen that particular gem. In the 70’s, Sleepy got signed by the new Shelby Singleton-owned Sun label and then the Boston-based Rounder Records, and he began working the Rockabilly revival and Teddy Boy circuit in England and Europe.
He became known as “The Human Jukebox” because he seemed to know every song ever written, and sometimes his shows would consist of him performing for 3 or 4 hours straight, no breaks, with short-and-long term band members holding on for dear life, often not knowing the songs as Sleepy plowed through them like a mule plowing through hard and rocky Arkansas farmland. Sleepy kept going and going and that’s where we met him, in the early 1990s, playing in Los Angeles at the Blue Saloon in North Hollywood. At that time, we didn’t back him up but we got to know him and appreciate him for what a great and unique character he was. He had a deep bass voice that could rattle the foundation loose from a building! He fired a band member for secretly listening to a heavy metal cassette! He kept playing past last call and finally had to have the electricity turned off to stop him from playing! He would buy junk on the road to sell at the flea market back home in Arkansas until there was barely any room left for the band in the back of the van! Eventually we got to play with him. Once around 1994 or 1995 at a gig in San Francisco, my group the Dave and Deke Combo were opening for Sleepy, and he was watching our set. We launched into “Cherokee Boogie,” an old Moon Mullican tune, and Sleepy got so excited he jumped up on stage, took the bass out of Shorty‘s hand (or was it Lloyd?), and played bass with us on the number (he was a great upright bass player, but the bass looked like he was slapping a child’s cello). I backed up Sleepy at one of the Green Bay rockabilly festivals in the early 2000s, and when his string broke he finished the set playing my guitar. I still savor the memory of how tiny my guitar looked on him. We crossed paths and played on the same bill dozens of times, and I was always overjoyed when I heard his basso profundo voice chime out “HEY DEKE” backstage or wherever we happened to see each other.
The last time I got to back up Sleepy was at the Rockabilly Rave in England in 2010. Sleepy was supposed to play with a European band, who had learned all of his 50’s rockabilly songs, but didn’t realize that 95% of Sleepy’s set consisted of ‘The Great American Songbook.’ Which meant you had to go into the gig knowing about 10,000 songs of all genres–it might be rock and roll, it might be country, it might be blues, it might be gospel, it might be an old pop standard. Sleepy rehearsed with the European band and decided he didn’t want to play with them. Jerry Chatabox summoned me and luckily I was prepared, at that particular Rockabilly Rave I had the best rhythm section you could get–Beau Sample on bass and Alex Hall on drums, from the Modern Sounds. I’ll never forget the show, Sleepy went into every song and style imaginable, and we knew all the songs. He was pleased and had a big smile on his face the whole time. It might have marked the only time in my career where I played a medley of “Bo Diddley” into “Amazing Grace.” I never got a chance to back up Sleepy after that, and I knew he had a bout of very bad health problems a few years ago. I was overjoyed to run into a much older and much slimmer Sleepy backstage at Viva Las Vegas a couple years ago, where he greeted me with a “Hey, ol’ Deke!” We all got to know him and love him, and he gave us so much great music over the years. RIP Sleepy, thank you for all the great memories–you truly were a giant.
The great Mac Wiseman, known widely as The Voice with a Heart, died this yesterday morning in an Antioch, TN rehab facility. He was 93 years of age, and had been experiencing kidney failure these past few weeks.
One could argue that there was no more distinctive singing voice in the history of bluegrass or country music than Mac’s. Never was it unclear who it was when he was singing, a quality he retained into his old age. Though his singing days were behind him, that signature tone was still evident in his speaking voice right up to the end.
Wiseman’s life in music began with the appearance of bluegrass, working with Molly O’Day before joining Flatt & Scruggs after they had left Bill Monroe. Before long, Mac also did a stint with Monroe, before launching his own career as a headliner. He found great success in his native Virginia on the Old Dominion Barn Dance in Richmond, which he worked for many years.
He recorded dozens of albums during his career, and often enjoyed sharing that he had cut more than 200 songs in his day. Early hits included Jimmy Brown The Newsboy and ‘Tis Sweet To Be Remembered in the late 1950s. A number of memorable compilation projects were made in the ’60s and ’70s with Lester Flatt and The Osborne Brothers. Later in the ’80s Mac toured and recorded with Chubby Wise, and those live shows were like a lesson in bluegrass history.
Mac was famous for arriving in town with no supporting musicians, and assembling a band from whomever was jamming or picking in the vicinity. Everyone knew his music, so he would lead a band full of strangers to the stage with confidence anywhere he went.
He was instrumental in the founding of both the Country Music Association and the International Bluegrass Music Association, and has received Hall of Fame status from both organizations.
Perhaps the highest honor he can claim is that, despite nearly 70 years in the music business, one never hears a word spoken against Mac Wiseman. He was widely and truly loved by his fans, his fellow entertainers, and people in the music industry alike.
Just prior to his passing, he had accepted an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Glenville State College in West Virginia. No information about services has been announced. We will publish a more detailed career overview in the near future. R.I.P., Mac Wiseman.
Posted BlueGrass Today]
TimesLive reported on Sunday, that he was “struck by a gyrocopter blade as it apparently made an emergency landing at Vaal Marina, a village on the shoreline of the Vaal Dam, on Sunday morning.” Police are conducting an investigation.
Dempsey’s career spanned more than 50 years and saw him as a professional songwriter, record producer, musician, music publisher, manager, agent, digital artist, film and television producer and painter.
Amongst numerous other achievements, he owned a high-tech music recording studio where he has written and produced many themes for television programmes, including Topsport, Million Dollar Golf, The History of South Africa Rugby, Cricket, World Cup Golf, World Cup Soccer, The Blue Train Series, Comrades, Twist Grip and Drive Time, as well as the television series The Power of Persuasion and Wings Over Africa.
In 1999 Dempsey produced the feature film Heel Against the Head, for which he wrote the film score and many songs contained in the movie, which made it to number two on the SA box office.
Funeral arrangements will be communicated in the days to come.
Funeral arrangements will be communicated in the days to come.
– Biz Community News
It was a true celebration at the Grand Ole Opry on Wednesday, Jan. 9, as multiple generations of country music united to pay homage to their friend, the late Troy Gentry of the duo Montgomery Gentry, at the C’Ya on the Flip Side tribute concert.
The Opry house was filled to capacity with fans–or as Montgomery Gentry calls them, friends–who dedicated their time to honor the memory of Gentry, who was tragically killed in a helicopter crash in 2017. An expansive lineup that featured co-hosts Blake Shelton and Storme Warren, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, Chris Janson, Jimmie Allenand Dustin Lynch all entertained the loyal crowd with the hits that made Montgomery Gentry one of the genre’s iconic acts.
The event honored Gentry’s legacy not only in music, but in service. The inaugural concert served as a fundraising event for the Troy Gentry Foundation instituted by his wife Angie Gentry, benefiting causes they’ve long harbored a passion for including the TJ Martell Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Journey Home Project. “Behind that smile was a huge loving heart and he loved to give to other people,” Angie said glowingly of her late husband. “He was very humble, and I think this would have floored him, all of the outpouring and emotional support and the people that called and wanted to be a part of it.”
In addition to covering their favorite Montgomery Gentry songs, the artists also dedicated their own numbers to Gentry’s memory. After an honorable rendition of “Drink Along Song,” Bentley delivered a moving performance of “I Hold On,” bringing new meaning to the lyrics. “When I did my very first motorcycle Miles & Music events, they were the first ones to say yes to that,” Bentley said of the duo’s participation in his charity ride. “And Troy, he rode with me every year. For 10 years, he had his bike out there on a Sunday, giving up time at home to be there to help raise money for the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.”
One of the most stirring moments of the show came when Shelton offered a poignant reflection of his 17-year friendship with Gentry, looking back on the joyful moments and hardships they endured. “He was literally like a family member to me,” Shelton described. “He was one of my heroes.” He followed the sentiment with a haunting performance of “Over You,” the CMA Award-winning song he wrote with Miranda Lambert about his late brother, recalling the sincere impact the song had on Gentry.
Allen is another artist who knew what it meant to have Gentry as a close friend. The burgeoning star, who brought the audience to its feet with a lively cover of “Hell Yeah,” shared how he met his future mentor at the gym in 2008. Upon learning about Allen’s musical aspirations, Gentry offered him his phone number, and they remained friends that day onward. “He told me, ‘man, just stay true to who you are as a person, who you are as a musician. Eventually, you’ll find your way…it’s about your moral beliefs and who you are as a person,’” Allen recounted of Gentry’s words of advice and belief in him as an artist. “That really helped me, my confidence, for a long time.”
Brice offered another one of the evening’s powerful moments with “I Drive Your Truck.” He was inspired to perform the moving song about losing a loved one by an event that occurred in the days following Gentry’s passing, when a group of his friends took his black Camaro on a joy ride to one of his favorite bars. “Everything about Troy is something to look up to,” Brice reflected. “He was humble, but he was also fun and funny. Life is so short, obviously, and he made the most of it. We all wanna try to be like that.”
The evening came to a somber, yet celebratory close when Montgomery silently walked on to the stage, kissing Gentry’s guitar before placing it in the legendary Opry circle with a single spotlight shining on it. As Gentry’s personal triumph song “Better Me” played in the background, a slideshow of his life unfolded through personal photos with family, friends and on stage alongside his longtime music partner.
“I just wanna keep his legacy alive here, man, and make sure it stays alive in Nashville, and I’m gonna make sure it stays alive on the road,” Montgomery vowed. When he returned to the stage, Montgomery was joined by all of the performers for an all-star sing-along of one of the duo’s defining hits, “My Town.” It was a moment that not only honored the Montgomery Gentry legacy, but Gentry’s timeless spirit, which could be felt in the hallowed Opry house filled with pure musicianship and the fulfilling friendships he spent his life surrounded by.