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Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers: August 21, 1938 – March 20, 2020

Even if you don’t like country music, you probably loved Kenny Rogers. He sang so many songs that sent messages to any human being that had a heartbeat.

He was beyond being a crossover. Way beyond.

In his prime, he was the Universal man.

One of the first songs I ever remember hearing Kenny Rogers sing was with the band Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town.

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I had a crush on that gorgeous female singer who played the tambourine in those sexy white boots and miniskirt.

I think I was sixteen, maybe fifteen. Or seventeen. I can’t remember.

It was during the Vietnam war. I had friends that went and never came back home.

Kenny Rogers manned up to that crazy Asian war.  

That was a looong time ago. Ages.  

A half a century ago.

But the pain and suffering and the memories of the loss still survive in the mind. Vividly.

Kenny Rogers sang a lot of great songs, most of them having real meaning of life. But the two I cherish the most are the first one I heard Ruby, and the later one, the Gambler. There was a third, if I must pick the best of Kenny Rogers and that was, The Coward of the County.

All of his songs were great. I believe all of them were hits.

Dolly Parton whom I was kissed by in the 70s at the Proctor’s Theater in Schenectady, New York, said Kenny Rogers was a great man and a gentleman. She loved working with him. She wasn’t so fond of saying the same of the other men she performed with over the years.

I trust Dolly Parton’s judgement of character.

I miss the First Edition which I had 8-track tapes of and played in the tape decks of the muscle cars I used to drive back in the day.

One of my best friends who I worked with while still in high-school was killed in a high-speed crash that those songs bring back the memory of, good or bad.

I live in Vegas now, nearly 3,000 miles from my home town where I grew up. The Gambler is part of life. But the song, tells a message most people miss.

Most of Kenny Roger’s songs told a story, sort of a ballad, and they all had meaning to life.

Did you listen to those words of wisdom that one of the greatest American singers sung when he performed live or in studio?

Every song Kenny Roger ever sang was a hit. Every song was a story of life. Real life. Life lived by the way real people lived life and died from it.  

That’s what the greatest do.

They give us a reason to listen. And to live.

3 November 2020 6PM PST

Cliff Harrison

Las Vegas, Nevada. USA