Monday, November 15, 2010

Music Monday ~ Kenny Rogers, My Gooey Buttercake.

We're recently back from sampling what Texas had to offer (see yesterday's post). Here's something, or rather someone, else from that state: sometimes referred to as a National Treasure or American Icon:
Texas-born Kenny Rogers. I've loved this singer for a long time and consider his songs as akin to gooey butter cake - something I really really love, but know I shouldn't eat too much of at one sitting, or very frequently, even though I could. I'm trying to train myself to achieve a little more....erm....I dunno... sophistication(?) in my musical taste. I swear, though, never to become as elitist as one very close to me, who shall remain nameless. To continue the food analogy: I'm weaning myself onto elegant, finely cooked and presented nourishing fare (for example, the work of Billy Strayhorn already appeals a lot). Still though - gotta have some gooey butter cake now and then, and it don't half taste good! I have Kenny's cd Love Songs playing as I type.

By the way, I shall not, apart from this sentence, be mentioning any work he has had done on his face - it's a boring, overworked topic as well as being potentially very mean spirited, and nobody else's business.

Kenny Rogers was born in Houston, Texas on 21 August 1938, one of eight children, in a working class family of which Kenny was the first to graduate from high school. He began singing in a doo-wop group as a teenager, joined the New Christy Minstrels in the 1960s, and later, along with others from that group formed The First Edition - and Ruby (she of the warning "don't take your love to town") was born. Kenny's name was added to the group's title: Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. They disbanded in the mid '70s. Kenny then had a string of country-sounding hits as a solo artist. He introduced us to Lucille, Lady, You Decorated My Life, Coward of the County,
and some duets with female stars: We've Got Tonight with Sheena Easton, Islands in the Stream with Dolly Parton, Don't Fall in Love with a Dreamer with Kim Carnes to name a few.

By late 1970s Kenny had sold over $100 million worth of records, but success wasn't to last. Rolling Stone's writers took a dislike to him and his successes with the Great Unwashed. He was unkindly referred to in that magazine as the "overweight lightweight". For a variety of reasons noticed of late, I'm beginning to dislike Rolling Stone and its writers.

Kenny's career hit the doldrums. Always up for a challenge it seems, he gave acting a go. A TV-movie The Gambler, based on his earlier hit song was one result, leading to four popular sequels. Several TV seasonal specials followed. There's been even more diversifying by this multi-talented guy. He has become a respected photographer and published several books on photography. He opened a rotisserie-chicken fast-food franchise, then went back to music making. In 1999 he produced an album She Rides Wild Horses which included a #1 single Buy Me a Rose. Nowadays, still diversifying, he's breeding Arabian horses and cattle on a 1,200-acre Georgia farm, with fifth wife Wanda Miller, they married in 1997.

Kenny Rogers has won just about every music award one could name over the span of his 50+ year career, along with awards for his charity work.

Let's take a peek at his natal chart. Astrodatabank gives his birth time as 11:29 AM.

With Moon at 5 degrees of its own sign, Cancer, he would prefer the moonlight (see LP title in photo above) wouldn't he? He's a sentimental soul, and we don't have far to seek to find evidence of it in his choice of songs. My own natal Cancer rising probably accounts for my fondness of this guy's work.

Sun and Mars in stage-struck Leo isn't a surpirse. He's hardly been out of the spotlight since teenage. He's a showman by nature, and if you've ever seen a show of his, live or on TV/DVD you won't need convincing of this. He comes over as a warm-hearted fun-loving guy as befits a true Leo-type.

Mercury and Neptune in Virgo add a discerning and Earthy touch to his outgoing nature. You won't find anything in bad taste, lewd or vulgar among the hundreds of songs he has sung over many decades. Natal Venus (planet of the arts) in its own sign Libra underlines a natural preference for beauty over "shock and awe" in his music.

I note that Jupiter was opposing his natal Leo Sun from Aquarius as he was born. I see this as providing a nice balance between showmanship, his necessarily huge ego, and a sincere concern for his fellow humans. After the 1981 death of his friend, singer/songwriter Harry Chapin, he assumed his position at the forefront of the movement to aid the hungry. "Access to proper food and nutrition," said Rogers, "is perhaps the most fundamental right of every human being." He has co-chaired a "Hands Across America" fund-raiser for America's hungry and has been instrumental in helping the hungry in his current home area, Georgia, establishing the Athens Area Homeless Shelter in 1990.

Here's a blast from the past: Kenny singing Ruby and a medley with The First Edition in 1970

and live in 1999 a good rendition of Ain't No Sunshine

Can't end without one of my many favourites: Lady


Wisewebwoman said...

I don't often think of him, but when I do I realize how much I like him.
Like Cher.
Like John Denver.
Nice post T.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Yes, I know what you mean.
Those singers are part of music's historical tapestry in our lifetime. Thanks, WWW. :-)

R J Adams said...

I particularly liked some of the duets with Sheila Easton, and dear ole Dolly. On his own he can rapidly become somewhat over-sugary for me. Too much gooey butter cake can cause a stomach ache. ;-)

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~ One has to be in the mood for Kenny's love songs, and even then, too many can be too much of a good thing - yes. :-)
As a quote from his hit "The Gambler" says:
You gotta know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.....


Anonymous said...

Just wondering, if anyone would know......Was Kenny Rogers in Alamogordo,NM, in 1961-1962 ?exterif