Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Music Therapy

Back in the early 70s, Kris Kristofferson was not yet a big movie star but he was hot on the outlaw music scene. My father, mother and I were big fans of his music. Mother and I attended three concerts where Kris performed, the first being the very first Willie Nelson 4th of July picnic in Dripping Springs, which I've written about before. That was in 1973. The following two years brought Kris back to Austin, headlining concerts at the old Palmer Auditorium. Both of these events included his then-wife Rita Coolidge. (Willie turned up, too, at least once and maybe both times.) They were knock-out performances, the questionable acoustics of the Palmer notwithstanding. Mother and I were fairly close to the stage on both occasions and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Back in those days, you could bring a tape recorder and camera into the auditorium and I caught the entire concert on tape the year that Rita was promoting her new album Fall Into Spring. I fell in love with that album and I immediately bought it and played it over and over. Rita was moderately popular, but her big chart climbing hits were yet to come and the album was not a blockbuster. When CDs came along, many of her later albums were released on CD, but Fall Into Spring and the earlier The Lady's Not for Sale (equally great) were never made available. I hung onto my well-played vinyl versions, dragging them out periodically to enjoy them again, which would lead to checking Amazon for any news of their release on CD, always being disappointed.

I do not know why I ran a check on Amazon a few days ago. I had not listened to either album in a long time and had given up hope they would ever be resurrected. I almost did not realize what I was seeing. Both of the coveted albums, plus another I also owned on vinyl were now available on one double CD. I immediately fired off an order and it arrived last Friday evening.

For the two hours following my arrival home, I enjoyed listening to these old friends. I still think Rita's early music is her best work and these albums correspond to the period of time she was sharing a band with Kris. Her perfect voice, framed by outstanding backup musicians, provided me with an evening of pure enjoyment. I've been listening to it on my commute this week, too. It has had a calming effect on me, sort of like slipping into your favorite jeans and sneakers and curling into the corner of the couch. Not a bad tranquilizer.

Look at the prices...what a deal.
And these were the high priced seats.

Kris & Rita, center stage

Now, if only someone would get busy and release Marty Robbins' Devil Woman.


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