Wed Jul 27, 2005 7:53 pm
I've never seen a picture of these two together. Was there any pictures taken of our guy with Kenny either alone, or with the First Edition?, thanks in advance. Btw, I'm still rattled by the pictures of that hottie that Colin has posted. French women are so frickin hot!
Thu Jul 28, 2005 10:32 am
I believe Kenny Rogers was one of the invitees on opening night 1969. I haven't heard if him meeting Elvis although I could be wrong.
Thu Jul 28, 2005 12:34 pm
Joe Car wrote:I've never seen a picture of these two together.
Are you saying you think they were one and the same person
Thu Jul 28, 2005 7:11 pm
Joe Car wrote:I've never seen a picture of these two together.
Are you saying you think they were one and the same person
Not quite Steve, that's a pretty good one though.
Sat Sep 24, 2005 12:48 pm
As I am a huge fan of both. I know Elvis introduced Kenny and the First Edition at a concert as friends of his. Kenny has said that it was very exciting for him to hear that. Kenny did not say if they met or had pictures etc. My info is from the 8 dvd passport doc. By the way Kenny's First Edition work is way better then his solo stuff. His voice was a lot smoother and all the other members had a LOT of talent. He even had long dark and and an earing. My girlfriend and I call the Kenny of this era Hippie Kenny.
Sat Jan 28, 2006 9:46 am
I made some pictures off some bactstage 8-10-70 footage and Kenny and Terry Williams (he was The First Edition's co-leader) are there. IMHO Elvis and Kenny looked their very best that year.
Sat Jan 28, 2006 4:58 pm
First ed. were very talented group..Terry was one funny person on stage and off. The girl singer Mary i think her name was also married to country singer/songwritter Roger Miller. and who forget drummer Mickey Jones who has been in countless t.v.ads and many movies as he was the Drummer for the "front porch band" in Billy Bob throntons Slingblade...
have to agree I liked kennys work much better when he was with the band as well...
Sat Feb 04, 2006 12:47 am
I wrote this for a wikipedia web page but people keep changing it. Here is the original.
The First Edition was a superb and sadly overlooked Country/Rock group, stalwart members being Kenny Rogers, Mickey Jones (formally with Bob Dylan among others) and Terry Williams. The band formed in 1967 with Mike Settle and Thelma Camacho completing the group.
The First Edition were (outside of Mickey) made up of former New Christy Minstrels who felt creatively stifled. Kenny was older then the others and grew a beard to look younger. In 1967 they signed with Reprise and recorded the proto metal-psychedelic single "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)". The single (which had Glen Campbell playing the solo) became a hit early in 1968, climbing to number five in the U.S. Although people like Jimi Hendrix proclaimed his love of the song, within a year, stylistic indecisiveness had begun to take its toll. While their music was excellent, their second hit was nothing like their first. Settle's "But You Know I Love You" had an appealing country-folk sound that confused some fans, but it gained them many others. Angered that "Just Dropped In" was their only hard rock song, Thelma left the group in 1969 after the others refused to go solely in that direction. Replaced by roommate Mary Arnold (who beat out Karen Carpenter for the job), the group was rebilled as "Kenny Rogers and The First Edition". Terry later claimed this made him feel like one of Gladys Knight's Pips, but Kenny had sung all the hits, and had the most identifiable voice. By the end of the 60s Rogers had long brown hair, an earring, and pink sunglasses. Known affectionately in retrospect as "Hippie Kenny", Rogers had a much smoother vocal style at the time. In the summer of 1969, they had their second Top Ten hit, with "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town". Mickey's drumming was very distinctive, but it was Kenny who made the song his own. At Kenny's current shows, the song is often cheerily clapped along to, or joked around with. However, in 1969 telling the story of a crippled veteran was a daring act of compassion. "Ruby" came out at a time when service men were literally being spit on by war protesters.
"Ruby" made them stars, and for the next two years, The First Edition had a great run of hits. A man he took to be a rude fan pitched "Reuben James" to Kenny at a golf match. Alex Harvey followed him around the green singing the song until Kenny listened. Rogers loved this look at a black man raising a white boy and agreed to do it. A very daring record "Reuben James" was not a huge hit, but it made an impact in peoples memories, at least in the cities that agreed to play it. "Reuben James" came at the end of 1969 just as Mike Settle was leaving. Settle wanted to save his ultimately doomed marriage and was replaced by Kin Vassy. Vassy had a great voice, and if anything improved the group. The group continued to record country, rock, and folk fairly equally blurring the lines between each genre. Along with Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley, their records in the late 60s brought country music to the north and rock music to the country. Even if Rogers had not also discovered Don Henley, The First Edition were clear pioneers of this more modern blend of rockabilly called country rock. The First Edition peaked with their next hit 1970s "Something's Burning". A blatantly sexual song, Kenny's soft voice on verses and rock shouting on the chorus made for a great record. "Something's Burning" opened with a sample of an actual heartbeat, but it was played backwards to replicate the songs rhythmic beat. Vassy's vocals added a hard edge to the tracks harmonies greatly enhancing its quality. Terry Williams had begun some solo recording around this time doing a few fine folk rock songs with little success. He would soon switch to a more T-Rex inspired bubble gum sound that did not have the appeal of his previous work. It was Williams "I'm Gonna Sing You A Sad Song Susie" that highlighted their next LP "Tell It All Brother". The title track was a big hit and dealt with love and brotherhood. It was the first of many songs Kenny would sing (i.e. his solo Coward Of The County) that had elements of sadism under a gentle surface. The line about mimicking a crippled man would not have flown had it not been sung with so much reverence. Released around right after Kent State, the audience gave the group a standing ovation the night it debuted live.
Their last top 40 record came at the end of 1970. It was Vassy's "Heed The Call". Another moving song about brotherhood, it was a good counterpart to the balladry of "Tell It All Brother". Perhaps a bit to close to the each others theme, "Heed The Call" did not do well compared to their previous hits. There next single "Someone Who Cares" was from a film soundtrack. A lush ballad perhaps if it had been included in their concurrent top selling Greatest Hits LP, it would have done better. It did very well on the easy listening charts, but it seemed like The First Edition may have to rethink their image. They next tried to release a gospel song called "Take My Hand" but it understandably flopped. It was good but though "Spirit In The Sky" "Put Your Hand In The Hand" and "Jesus Is Just Alright" set a trend for "Jesus Rock" The First Edition seemed to be trend jumping while no longer creating them. Then two things happened to help the group out They got their own TV Series "Rollin" and released their masterful "Ballad Of Calico"
"Rollin" was variety show geared towards rock groups. Unlike the more glitzy Sonny and Cher hour, "Rollin" was a lot more earthy and focused on soulful guests like Ike and Tina Turner, veterans like Bo Diddley, and new artists such as the ice cream man, and Jim Croce. The show also gave them a chance to do the comedy Kenny and Terry had long amused their audience with. Getting good ratings "Rollin" did have one bad side effect; they were now looked at as T.V. not recording stars. It was the curse of overexposure that from The Jacksons on down was caused by this 70s anomaly of rock stars having their own variety show.
"The Ballad Of Calico" was written by future star Michael Murphy and was a country rock opera about a 1800s mining town. The songs were all based in fact and the sleeve and booklet of this 2 LP set had genuine and period styled photos depicting the era. The music was terrific and all of the group (outside of Mickey) took at least one lead. "School Teacher" was a funky strutter that Kin sang lead on. Perhaps the audience didn't want a First Edition single without Kenny on lead, perhaps it sounded sexist outside of the LPs concept but this track only reached #91. Frustrated by the falling sales (the album hardly sold at all) Vassy quit.
By the end of 1972, Gene Lorenzo and Jimmy Hassell joined the group. Gene was a fine keyboard player who had a huge (known now as a Super Mario Brothers) mustache. Jimmy was a good hard singer like Vassy had been, and resembled Gary Busy. Both fit in well, without making the impression of the original members. They moved to MGM records and Kenny got a production deal for his own label called Jolly Rogers. Their first release was a country LP called "Backroads". Though a version of Merle Haggard's "Today I Started Loving You Again" reached the lower regions of the country charts late in 1972, Kenny Rogers and traditional country music would have to wait another four years. Then came a soundtrack to "Rollin". Now in its second year, a great album of live versions of the "Calico" songs, or hits like "Ruby" and "Just Dropped In" could have sold quite well bringing these proven gems to the Jolly Rogers label. Instead we get a set of "Show Standards" that a cheesy cover band could have produced. Kenny's fine "Long and Winding Road" and Gene's reworking of Bach's "Joy" are the only highlights. This album could not have helped their failing sales, and gave a false impression of the band. The TV show was soon cancelled, they increasingly played county fairs and in Vegas lounges. This made them a lot of money but they knew they were no longer current. Although he made up for it by wilder dress and hair, Kenny was already showing signs of middle age with a weight gain and gray streaks now surfacing. They needed a new image far away from their TV persona
"Monumental" tried to give them just this. A hard rock album with two Dr. John inspired voodoo blues songs as its centerpiece; this was perhaps their most inspired release. Kenny never sounded better than on the wild rocker about prostitute "Morgana Jones" and never sang better than on the moving "42nd Street" The later was about New York 1973 opposed to Broadway in the 30s. Kenny did another of his subtle zingers when he slipped in beautifully sung lines about strippers and heroin in the chorus. With The "Hoodooing Of Fannie DuBerry and The Ritual" making up the funky backbone "Monumental" was classic.
Yet it was perhaps their biggest failure here. In New Zealand it was another story. Kenny's rocking nursery rhyme "Lena Lookie" went to number one and the album went gold. They went on three tours making a great documentary of their first in late 1973. The TV special "Rollin Through New Zealand" aired in 1975, and their careers had a new lease. Yet back home things were falling apart. Terry wanted to now keep doing hard rockers, but Kenny wanted a more conservative agenda. Kenny admitted in his book "Making It With Music" that he perhaps shouldn't of complained about MGM's poor distribution on a radio show, but despite the problems back home New Zealand welcomed them as superstars. The problem was they had to go halfway around the world to benefit from their success, and travel expenses ate a big chunk out of their profits. As a thank you they put together an album called "I'm Not Making My Music For Money" especially for their N.Z. fans. An LP of this title was to have come out here, but MGM rejected it. Whether this was the same LP is unknown, but the record that did come out shows their continued development. While overloaded with remakes (probably some that were not available there) the record is good. "Love Woman" is now a hard rock jam that shows Jimmy at his best. "Dirty Work" and "Daddy Was A Traveling Man" show a mature Terry who now made complex sophisticated music. "Making Music For Money" is a great song about art vs. commerce that Jimmy Buffet later covered. Considering a few of Kenny's solo choices, the subject has ironic connotations. Kenny never sang with more purity then on "Forgive Me Now" making one aware of just how much his voice lost pitch wise later on. Perhaps it's appropriate that this was their last song on their last album.
A last ditch effort to jumpstart their careers was done in late 1974 when they filmed a T.V. movie called "Dream Makers". A better then average drama on the music biz, they played the group Catweazel. A small role, Kenny and Mickey had all the lines, but despite performing thee songs, this seemed to do nothing to help. Kenny had become short on money by 1974, and was in debt when he decided to hawk guitar lessen records on a commercial. The "Quick Pickin Fun Strummin" method may of worked, but it did Kenny and the others no good image wise.
Wanting to really give a solo career a shot it was not Kenny who left, it was Terry. Kenny was upset but agreed to it, getting Kin to come back, but he knew in his heart it was over. Recently he told a story about the writing the song "Sweet Music Man". Saying that it made him cut his hair get rid of the earring may have been true, but it did not happen overnight. Mary Arnold sang the song on the last First Edition gigs as it was about a woman telling her man that he needed to grow up and stop chasing the fame that had now faded. Kenny did not change his look right away, but did decide to end the group. The First Edition were about to break up.
Kenny signed a solo deal to UA in 1975. At the time he signed he still looked basically youthful. Within a year or two he had visibly (albeit temporarily) become quite heavy and went completely gray. While his father's death, a third divorce, and the break up of his group may have played a part, rarely has a man aged so quickly. Regardless he developed a more middle of the road gravel voiced style and became a legend in his own time. Though his most famous work has its merits, it had little of the daring artistic risks he had been previously acclaimed for. Only on LPs like "Share Your Love" (a RnB album produced by Lionel Ritchie), and the country-rock opera "Gideon" did his former creativity arise. His amiable stage jokes and love of performing continue to this day
Thelma did a few solo records that didn't hint at the talent she displayed in the group. Kenny has said she became a housewife.
Mary married singer Roger Miller enjoying many years of happiness with him. Her own previous career made them a perfect match.
Kin died in the mid 90s never achieving the success he so deserved. He worked with Kenny a lot in the 80s and his trademark scream enlivens hits like "Blaze Of Glory"
Gene performed for some years with country star Lee Greenwood, then some more years with Kathy Mattea. He joined Kenny's stage band "Bloodline" in 1987 but seems to have quit shortly after. He is still listed as a working musician but is no longer in the public eye.
Terry never really took off as a solo artist. He had one easy listening hit called "Blame It On The Night", but it was on a small label and today is harder to find then his less successful singles. He worked with Kenny in the 80s on some albums and managed Kenny's LionShare studio. Today Terry is very religious and directs music at a church as well as owning and operating a recording studio for Christian artists.
Mike opened for The First Edition on the 1973 trek to New Zealand. He has written songs for all of the groups solo records over the years. He is still a respected writer well considered in folk music circles.
Jimmy died a few years ago. Nothing is known of his post First Edition days
Mickey is the most visible member next to Kenny. Now focused more on acting, He has been in many films and T.V. shows over the years including great films such as "Slingblade" and The "Fighting Temptations". He is also a religious man who enjoys a solid marriage. He and his fans have a good relationship with each other and he is one of the nicest men in the movie and music business.
The band scored a total of 12 hit singles and 8 hit albums on the Billboard charts. They should be remembered with far more fanfare then they currently are. Quite simply they were terrific.
With The First Edition
The First Edition (1967)
The First Edition's Second (1968)
The First Edition '69 (1969)
Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town (1969)
Something's Burning (1970)
Tell It All Brother (1970)
Greatest Hits (1971)
The Ballad of Calico (1972)
Back Roads (1972)
I'm Not Making Music For Money (1974 NZ only release with
Greatest Hits (1976 NZ only comp of Jolly Rogers tracks)
Retrieved from "http://en..org/wiki/The_First_Edition"