Every so often when it's late I will go to my music files and pull out some Mickey Newbury.
One might not want to listen too often to Newbury. His lyrics, style and voice can work on one. I bet most people who might be reading this don't know who Newbury was.
Mickey Newbury was born in Houston, Texas in 1940, May 19th to be exact. In 1959 Newbury came out of the service and pursued his dream of being a songwriter. Songwriting ain't no easy business. (They say today there are over 17,000 songwriters here in Nashville) Even grocery money can be hard to come by when one is trying to write for a living.. While learning his craft he lived in a '54 Pontiac traveled and worked some honky tonks in Texas, Tennessee and even worked shrimp boats in Louisiana to make a go of things.
"Well Mornin' Comes," (She just woke me up) just finished playin' and now "Here Comes the Rain Baby." (You never did like the rain did you baby?) I can almost hear the drops just outside my office window. He would go on to write such hits as "Just Dropped In to See What Condition My Condition Was In," Sweet Memories," and the Elvis classic, "American Trilogy."
His songs were covered by hundreds of artists, 1,000 covers have been documented. He recorded twenty-five albums. He always considered himself a song writer first and a singer second. Personally I loved his voice. There are just a few singers that don't just sing a song, they "deliver" it. So it was with Newbury.
If you want to see how highly thought of another is in their chosen craft talk or listen to those who are practicing the same craft. I remember sitting with a group of songwriters listening to them talk and it was the consensus of all them that Newbury was one of the greatest. On another occasion I sat with a writer. He told me one night he was playing in this small venue here in Nashville when Newbury walked in and took a seat at a back table. "I thought I wasn't going to be able to continue. " He went on to say that when he took a break Newbury invited him to sit down at his table. "I had closed this set with a song I had recently written and he paid me a nice compliment about the song. Still to this day I consider it one of the highlights of my career."
Kris Kristofferson said of him: "I learned more about songwriting from Mickey that I did any other single human being. He was my hero and still is." Sadly Newbury died at age sixty-two on September 29, 2002.
If you want to quickly get yourself into a depressed mood try his album "I Came To Hear The Music." As he said: "You only live once in a while."
Some folks never got or get the fame they deserved. That's my take on Mickey Newbury.
August 12, 2017