Thursday, February 21, 2008

My first song...

This is a story I probably shouldn't share -- but I'm going to anyway.

I guess the first music I was exposed to as a babe was church music --- the soul-stirrin', back-slappin', four-part harmonizin' Southern Gospel church music. But somewhere along the way I found WIVK, Claude the Cat and what is now called classic country.

Driving to work this morning, I happened to hear the first song I learned to sing. It brought a smile to my face, even if it makes me chuckle now. Yes, I admit it: the song was Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler."

Somebody somewhere has a tape (it's either 8-track or maybe cassette) of a 2-year-old Jake singing "You got to know when to hold 'em/Know when to fold 'em..." at the top of his lungs. I can remember spending lazy summer afternoons at Douglas Lake with my grandparents. They would play Kenny Rogers on the 8-track (!) and I'd sing along.

Kenny's "Six Pack" was (I think) the first movie I ever watched in the theater. It was either that or "Mr. Mom."

Yep, I was warped even then.

I tell you, though, I am a little surprised, looking back on it after nearly 30 years, at the vocal range Kenny had. Long before he became a "Mad TV" gag or fodder for Seinfeld, The Gambler had a pretty good set of pipes. If you doubt it, find a copy of his single "I Don't Need You."

He made quite an impression on a little 2-year-old boy, I know that.

Funny, ain't it?

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