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K is for Kardashians–no just Kidding!

April 13, 2015

I couldn’t resist taking a quick dig at the family of celebrities famous for being famous–before I get to a much more talented K.

I became a Kris Kristofferson fan when I was in college, listening to the Jesus Was a Capricorn album (yes, album) over and over before moving back to his older recordings.  I knew enough to realize, for example, that he, not Janis Joplin, had written “Me and Bobbie McGee.”  Kristofferson was probably the first real singer-song writer that caught my attention.  Having cut my teeth on the Beatles and subsequently rejected the pop music making up Top 40 radio, I was always looking for something different, something better.

Naturally, my love for words has made me pay attention to the lyrics. I love word play (“He’s a poet, he’s a picker, he’s a prophet, he’s a pusher, he’s a pilgrim and a preacher and a problem when he’s stoned….”)

He could spin a story, turn a phrase, make me laugh or cry.  It’s no wonder so many of his songs were recorded by singers more commercially successful:  “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down,” a favorite of my daddy, is more often associated with Johnny Cash.  “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” with Sammi Smith.

I will confess, though, that I love his voice too, imperfect though it may be. I like the gravelly growl.

I’ll probably never completely get over his breakup with Rita Coolidge, not just out of sentimentality, but because they both sounded best together.  Only one of the albums they recorded together is available on CD, presumably because they were signed to different labels during their romance and marriage, so I have to break out the vinyl if I want to hear “Lover Please” or “We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds.”

The first time I saw Kris Kristofferson was at a small chapel on the Vandy campus when I was a college freshman. The venue was tiny, our seats were great, and we nearly had a contact high, since the concert was sponsored by NORML. Rita was there on stage, although I’m not sure if they were married yet. At the time Billy Swan, who played with Kristofferson, had his hit “I Wanna Help. Funky Donnie Fritts was there too.  Everyone was there that night, and different celebrities not on the show just showed up.  In fact, that’s the only time I ever saw Shel Silverstein live–and the poem he read was NOT of the Giving Tree genre.  People forget all the songs he wrote (such as “Boy Named Sue”).

I’ve managed to see Kristofferson several times since, in large arenas and small clubs. He even hosted the anniversary concert of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge a few years ago. I even have a photograph of him with Willie, Waylon, and Johnny Cash, signed by all four of them and June too.  It’s one thing I’d grab in a fire–well, that and all the vinyl!

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 14, 2015 5:20 am

    Honestly, Cuz, you have no problem at all with coming up with THE best topics. Please don’t read mine for today. I forgot to write about K until I was already in bed, and what I wrote is just plain poopy!!! I loved this one, as I have all of the ones that you’ve written!! Good night!

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