Kenny Rogers Breaks Even

 

Kenny Rogers has died. He had been in ill-health for a couple of years and was 81 when he died. It was not unexpected. He had received his three-score and ten, with more than a little change back.

Still, it is sad. He was one of my favorites when I was young, and the master of the storytelling ballad. My title for this borrows from one of his most famous ballads, “The Gambler.”

I present it without further comment:

Farewell, Kenny Rogers.

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  1. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    “Sing a song sweet music Man…”

    • #1
  2. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Considering he became an iconic country singer, I always though it was interesting that his first big break, as a member of The First Edition, was with the LSD song “Just Dropped In (To See What My Condition Was In),” first recorded by another cross-over artist, Jerry Lee Lewis.

    By the time “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” hit the charts, it had become Kenny Rogers and The First Edition.

    RIP.

    • #2
  3. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    I just love this, been watching it for years:

     

    • #3
  4. She Member
    She
    @She

    I never hear Lucille without thinking of happy times in the late 70s when Mr. She was doing some freelancing work for the USW Leadership Conferences (held at Linden Hall, the fabulous estate of an area coal magnate, which the USW had purchased for the purpose.  Not sure who owns it now).  Mr. She taught several modules on business writing.  Each session ended with a dinner after which things got pretty lively, and Lucille, for some reason was always the choice for a sing-a-long.  It’s a good song, with a memorable refrain,  for, ahem, drunks.

    R.I.P. Kenny Rogers.

    (Just looked up Linden Hall.  Apparently it’s in business today as an events venue, conference center and resort.  It may still be owned by the Steelworkers, as it says they still use it as a training center.  From the photo of the mansion’s main entrance, it looks like the three gorgeous Tiffany windows have been replaced with plain glass.  Wonder if the bowling alley is still in the basement, or the enormous chest of drawers where “Mrs. Cochran” (a bit of an old battleaxe she must have been) ordered her sheets to be spread flat when they’d been ironed, so no fold marks.  There was a pipe organ.  And a “devils’ room, with ornate walls, where the men had to go to smoke–there was no connecting door into the mansion; the guys had to go outside, and then into the devils’ room through its own exterior door.  Lifestyles of the rich and famous. Fascinating.)

    • #4
  5. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    When I heard the news, a long-lost childhood memory came to mind. My dad always listened to country radio in the car and “Lucille” was ubiquitous when I was about 11. On a pit stop during a long road trip, he overheard me singing:

    You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
    With four hundred children and a bucket of beer.

    Back in those days, you couldn’t Google the lyrics so we made do with what we misheard. That said, dad preferred my version to the real lyrics, “with four hungry children and a crop in the field.”

    Rest in peace, Gambler.

    • #5
  6. She Member
    She
    @She

    PS:  I’ll never quit living on dreams.

    • #6
  7. Chris O. Coolidge
    Chris O.
    @ChrisO

    Rough version of this song, but certainly “Just Dropped In” is his best known song to the young ‘uns.

    https://youtu.be/AULOC–qUOI

     

    • #7
  8. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Kenny didn’t do politics and didn’t wear religion on his sleeve.  He did sing some gospel, and one of my favorites seems particularly appropriate:

    • #8
  9. Kim K. Inactive
    Kim K.
    @KimK

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    When I heard the news, a long-lost childhood memory came to mind. My dad always listened to country radio in the car and “Lucille” was ubiquitous when I was about 11. On a pit stop during a long road trip, he overheard me singing:

    You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
    With four hundred children and a bucket of beer.

    Back in those days, you couldn’t Google the lyrics so we made do with what we misheard. That said, dad preferred my version to the real lyrics, “with four hungry children and a crop in the field.”

    Rest in peace, Gambler.

    Back in the day, there was a joke going around about a farmer and his broken-down tractor. I don’t remember the whole thing but the punch line was “you picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel.”

    • #9
  10. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    It was his time to walk away from the table. 

    I didn’t follow alot of his music but he was definitely a smart guy. He was great on Ken Burns documentary about country music. 

    • #10
  11. Mark Reilly Member
    Mark Reilly
    @user_525938

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    When I heard the news, a long-lost childhood memory came to mind. My dad always listened to country radio in the car and “Lucille” was ubiquitous when I was about 11. On a pit stop during a long road trip, he overheard me singing:

    You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
    With four hundred children and a bucket of beer.

    Back in those days, you couldn’t Google the lyrics so we made do with what we misheard. That said, dad preferred my version to the real lyrics, “with four hungry children and a crop in the field.”

    Rest in peace, Gambler.

    Yes!  My misheard lyric as a 12 year old listening on AM radio:

    “Four hungry children and a crap in the field”

    • #11
  12. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    God bless you, Kenny, and rest in peace.  What a great entertainer.

    Here’s link to a YouTube mix of some of his greatest hits.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn481KcjvMo&list=PL9D739853CAC6903A&index=1

    • #12
  13. ShaunaHunt Coolidge
    ShaunaHunt
    @ShaunaHunt

    Mark Reilly (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    When I heard the news, a long-lost childhood memory came to mind. My dad always listened to country radio in the car and “Lucille” was ubiquitous when I was about 11. On a pit stop during a long road trip, he overheard me singing:

    You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
    With four hundred children and a bucket of beer.

    Back in those days, you couldn’t Google the lyrics so we made do with what we misheard. That said, dad preferred my version to the real lyrics, “with four hungry children and a crop in the field.”

    Rest in peace, Gambler.

    Yes! My misheard lyric as a 12 year old listening on AM radio:

    “Four hungry children and a crap in the field”

    Our mock lyric came from a joke about the song, I think. 

     ” You picked a fine time to leave me, Loose Wheel

    With four hungry children and Dad at the wheel. “

     

    • #13
  14. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Some of Kenny’s songs – like The Gambler; Lucille; and Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town – have been so relentlessly overplayed on country radio that I really don’t care if I ever hear them again.  But there are so, so many great songs of his that I’ll never get tired of hearing.  In particular, I really love the concept album Gideon, which is about the life and death of a cowboy named Gideon Tanner.  The only big hit from this album was Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer, but the whole album is terrific.

    Anyway, allow me to show some of my favorites.  Rest In Peace, Kenny.

    Yes, I know this one was a Bonnie Rait hit, but Kenny Rogers’s version is my favorite.

    • #14
  15. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Kim K. (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    When I heard the news, a long-lost childhood memory came to mind. My dad always listened to country radio in the car and “Lucille” was ubiquitous when I was about 11. On a pit stop during a long road trip, he overheard me singing:

    You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
    With four hundred children and a bucket of beer.

    Back in those days, you couldn’t Google the lyrics so we made do with what we misheard. That said, dad preferred my version to the real lyrics, “with four hungry children and a crop in the field.”

    Rest in peace, Gambler.

    Back in the day, there was a joke going around about a farmer and his broken-down tractor. I don’t remember the whole thing but the punch line was “you picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel.”

    The way I heard it was a sidelined bicycle racer.

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Mad TV had some fun with Kenny.  And of course there was the time on Seinfeld when the Kenny Rogers Roaster “chicken shack” had the big neon sign that kept Kramer awake at night.  As I recall, he went in to complain, got hooked on their chicken, and – of course – came apart when the place closed.

    • #16
  17. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Mad TV had some fun with Kenny. And of course there was the time on Seinfeld when the Kenny Rogers Roaster “chicken shack” had the big neon sign that kept Kramer awake at night. As I recall, he went in to complain, got hooked on their chicken, and – of course – came apart when the place closed.

    That was one of my very favorite episodes of Seinfeld.  Especially how the behavior of Jerry and Kramer changed when they switched apartments.

    • #17
  18. The Dowager Jojo Inactive
    The Dowager Jojo
    @TheDowagerJojo

    In my current incarnation I am a bureaucratic (virtual) paper-pusher, and all day long I am writing “Conditions.” So all day long I am humming to myself “I just dropped in, to see-ee what condition my condition was in…” Not loud enough to be overheard.

    • #18
  19. Dr. Strangelove Thatcher
    Dr. Strangelove
    @JohnHendrix

    The award for best post-title of the week goes to @seawriter

    • #19
  20. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    I loved him growing up, too.  I always thought he looked super-not-himself after he got his eye surgery though.  I preferred his original look, which fit a country singer with a cowboy persona.  He also lived in my home state of Georgia for years and years, so there was a strange feeling of connection like you have with a neighbor you’ve never met.  He had a nice career, and it looks like he finally figured out his personal life as well.  Plus he had a pet goat who lived in his home like a dog, and that just makes him quirky.

    • #20
  21. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Mark Reilly (View Comment):
    “Four hungry children and a crap in the field”

    Yours is better!

    • #21
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