Monday, January 17, 2011

The First Edition - Just Dropped In - Reprise, 1968

Many of you know this fine tune from the Cohen brothers' "Big Lebowski".  But what many don't know is that it's Kenny Rogers on vocal duties.  "Wait, that's The Gambler?" You betcha.

Kenny's long career in music started in the late 50's with a doo-wop group called The Scholars.  After some minor success with them Kenny tried to go on his own, and later joined a jazz trio, "The Bobby Doyle Trio", before moving on to the folky New Christy Minstrels.  But real success didn't happen until the formation of The First Edition in 1967.

Their second offering on Reprise is today's 45.  Apparently this tune was first recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis in '67 but rejected.  I'd love to hear that! The song is meant to be a warning about using LSD, written by well-known Nashville songwriter Mickey Newbury.
"I got up so tight I couldn't unwind,
I saw so much I broke my mind"
Kenny's smooth voice and the song's non-traditional feel and psychedelic flourishes sent it to #5 on the charts, and sent The First Edition on a long and successful career.  They finally split in 1975 but not before many more hits and even a television show, "Rollin' On the River".  Kenny went on to massive Pop Country hits, a fast-food chicken franchise, inspiring goofy websites, and even being spoofed on Mad TV.  Kenny Rogers is a bona fide cultural phenomena.
And now, the clip!

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