SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT- Terry Rasor – On Fire

Photo courtesy Tara Bone

I get so excited when I have new music to share with you, and Terry Rasor’s CD, “ON FIRE” is something worth getting excited about.

First a little background.

Terry Rasor has been writing and performing music since the seventies. He is a Fort Worth, Texas native and won the distinction of “Songwriter of the Year” in 1991 from the MCMA. Then in 2017, he was granted the ‘Steve Fromholtz Songwriter Award’ at the Texas Musicians Museum.

His raw, gritty, straight ahead sound is honest. He is the songwriter’s songwriter and has a voice that requires no microphone. So, without any more delay, I want to dive into his new CD, “On Fire!”

A story song, “Down By The Arbor,” begins this project. It should be a hard luck movie theme song! “Here come hell/when the hammer fell/In the cold hard ground, it all comes due…”

“Just To Please You,” is a ballad about life and circumstances. “I’m trying my best now just to please you…”

The next song, “I Never Drink Alone,” is a co-write with Roy Robinson (aka Amos Staggs) and it is the perfect ‘feelin’ sorry for yourself’ break-up song. “I never drink alone, your memory’s always along…”

The title track, “On Fire,” is one of the best story songs I’ve ever heard. I’ll say it again. This entire album could be a movie soundtrack!

“He was an outlaw by trade, one foot already in the grave, deck of cards in his pocket, someone’s hair in a silver locket. He could make an old horse dance, didn’t need no fancy pants tellin’ him he had what it took to be in next year’s parade…On Fire. He tried his best to set the world on fire…”

The next song could be a huge life lesson! “How Bad” tells it like it is! “You’ve been grinding away in the wind and the rain. You’re willing to get out and push the train. How bad, how bad do you want it? Blame the whole world for all of your woes. You don’t understand just how it goes. How bad, how bad do you want it?”

“Way Down In My Soul” is a tribute to classic country music stars.

Ever since Waylon stood up to the Nashville brass and told them he wanted to make music his own way, there’s been contention between Texas and Tennessee. With Terry’s song, “Too Texas For Tennessee,” he portrays the wide gap between what is called country music these days and Texas music!

A fun toe-tapper, “Raz A Ma Taz” makes you smile. It has a Dixieland jazz sound that you can’t help but be drawn into. “Come on over here baby. Let’s talk about the weather. We’ll devise us a plan to get together. I’d love to buy you a drink and hear what you really think about the birds and bees and liveoak trees and all manner of Raz a ma taz…”

“What I say Everyday” is poignant reminiscing for a lost love.

The album concludes with “Will You Miss Me.” This song touches me deep, having lost my husband eleven years ago. Well, here you go. Take a listen.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into a revered songwriter in the world of Texas music. Terry Rasor is a top-notch storyteller and entertainer!

The music industry has been hit hard by COVID-19 and our singer/songwriters are suffering. Please do what you can to help!

If you’d like to grab a copy of this album for $20 which includes shipping and handling, you can click HERE

Connect with Terry Rasor on:

FACEBOOK

WEBSITE

REVERBNATION

TWITTER

Hunger

I originally wrote this as a song, but never got it recorded. Think old Tammy Wynette style when you read it.

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HUNGER

BY JAN SIKES

I MET A MAN ON THE STREET JUST THIS MORNING.

HE HELD A SIGN THAT SAID, “HELP ME PLEASE.”

I STOPPED AND DROPPED A COIN IN THE CUP BESIDE HIS KNEE.

AND AS I TURNED, HE WHISPERED TEARFULLY,

HE SAID, “HUNGER WILL MAKE A MAN DO FOOLISH THINGS.

I ONCE HAD A WIFE, A HOME A FAMILY.

ENOUGH WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME.

I WANTED FAME AND FORTUNE – THOUGHT IT WOULD SET ME FREE.

I LOST A SENSE OF ALL REALITY.”

 HUNGER WILL MAKE A MAN DO FOOLISH THINGS.

HE’LL TRADE HIS SOUL TO GRAB THE BRASS RING.

HE’LL LET WARM LOVE TURN COLD,

JUST TO TOUCH THE RICH MAN’S GOLD.

THEN, FIND HIMSELF BROKEN ALONE AND OLD.

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 SHE SAT SILENT, ALONE WITH TEARDROPS FALLING.

DIM LIGHTS OF THE BARROOM HID HER FACE.

I ORDERED HER A DRINK, HER SORROW TO ERASE.

SHE SAID, “I DON’T BELONG HERE IN THIS PLACE.

HUNGER WILL MAKE A GIRL DO FOOLISH THINGS.

I ONCE  HAD A HOME, A MAN THAT TRUSTED.

HE GAVE ME ALL THE STABLE THINGS IN LIFE.

FOR YEARS I WAS A FAITHFUL, GOOD AND LOVING WIFE,

THEN WANTING WON AND NOW I PAY THE PRICE.”

 HUNGER WILL MAKE A GIRL DO FOOLISH THINGS.

SHE’LL TRADE HER PRIDE FOR A ONE NIGHT FLING.

SHE’LL LET PASSION RULE HER HEAD, TAKE A LOVER TO HER BED

AND IN THE END, HER WORLD IS LEFT IN SHREDS.

HUNGER SURE CAN MAKE FOLKS DO FOOLISH THINGS.

 I hope you enjoyed this poem/song. If you’d like to hear other songs I’ve written, they are on the CD, “I’ll Be Home When the Roses Bloom Again.”  I’d be honored! 

Jan and Gitjo
The first instrument I learned to play – a Gitjo. Rick took a Banjo and put a guitar neck on it. 🙂 I was very young.

A story as big as Texas itself!

Jan’s Website

A New Kind of High

Songwriters are more often than not, hidden in the background. It’s the artists who turn the songs into hits. Then, we associate the song with the artist, not the songwriter.

I have a great friend, Sonny Throckmorton, who has had over twenty number one songs and well over 1,000 recorded by artists. He is a member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and has been awarded Songwriter of the Year by both BMI and the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International. But, only a handful of people know the name.

However, here are some of his songs that you’re sure to recognize:

“The Way I Am” – A huge hit for Merle Haggard

“This is Where the Cowboy Rides Away” – A hit for George Strait

“The Last Cheater’s Waltz” – A #1 hit for T.G. Sheppard

“Trying To Love Two Women” – The Oak Ridge Boys

“Middle Age Crazy” – Jerry Lee Lewis

“Friday Night Blues” – John Conlee

“I Wish You Could Have Turned My head and Left My Heart Alone” – Oak Ridge Boys

And last, but certainly not least nor anywhere near the end of the list, “I Wish I Was Eighteen Again,” made famous by George Burns.

I say all of this to introduce you to a new album released by Sonny Throckmorton. I wanted you to know the calibre of songwriter I am promoting.

A New Kind of High

A NEW KIND OF HIGH is different from anything Sonny has ever done. It verges on country-funk with catchy lyrics and thought-provoking phrases.

The album opens with “A Little Bit of That.” A mix of electronica and rap, the lyrics say it all. “I’m tired of being hungry/Tired of being poor/All my friends are driving Benz/And I want a little bit more…”

While “Next” is more reminiscent of bluegrass on steroids, it is again, quite a different twist for Sonny.

Party Man” is more like the old Sonny Throckmorton style waltz with a twinge of loneliness thrown in.

Willie Nelson included “Butterfly” on his album, God’s Problem Child. Its slow easy flow is beautiful and the lyrics go deep.

Pink Limousine” has an odd combination of banjo and electronica that I’ve never heard. The lyrics go like this. “I dreamed all night of a pink limousine/Full of beautiful ladies, the cream of the cream/And I caught a ride if you know what I mean/And I rode all night in a pink limousine…”

Full-on-country, “Wasting a Fire” is a two-stepping unrequited love song.

Look What I Missed,” ramps up the countrified gospel funk to a new kind of high.

A soft flowing melody accompanies “Little Miss Out of the Blue.” I could hear someone with a smooth voice like the late Ray Price singing this and turning it into another hit for Sonny.

Deal Breaker” starts off with heavy reverb on lead guitar and a driving beat. “Looking for somebody that doesn’t have a cat/I don’t want no feline on my welcome mat/You’re a kitty lover well I’m a dirty rat/Looking for somebody that doesn’t have a cat/Well, it’s a deal-breaker…” Ha! I think we can all relate to that in one way or another whether or not it has anything to do with a cat. 🙂

The album ends with “Ride Me Back Home,” a poignant story song. “Ride me back home to a much better place/Blue skies, sunshine, plenty of space/Somewhere where they would leave you alone/Somewhere I could call home/And you would just ride me back home…”

I think it’s safe to say that Sonny Throckmorton, even at the age of 77, isn’t anywhere close to being done.

I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity enough that you’ll take a look at Sonny’s new release. Who knows. Maybe one day, we’ll hear some of these songs on the radio and soaring up the charts again for this talented phenomenal songwriter.

PURCHASE LINKS:

CDBABY

AMAZON

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Me and Sonny Throckmorton in May 2009.

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Left to Right – Jan Sikes, Janie Fricke, Rick Sikes, Sonny Throckmorton, Sharon, Sonny’s Sister

Richard J. Dobson – A Tribute

Once in a great while, in life, someone walks into it that leaves such a large footprint you are forever touched. And so it was with Richard J. Dobson (aka Don Ricardo).

Roxy Gordon was an American Indian activist, a poet, and storyteller. And, he was a friend and spirit brother to Rick and myself. It was he and his wife, Judy, who introduced Rick and myself to Ricardo in December 1999.  He and his bride-to-be, Edith, had come to Coleman to visit Roxy and Judy and to get married in the Coleman County Courthouse. I didn’t get to attend the actual wedding ceremony because I had to work, but this picture was taken in our music room the night before.

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The first song I heard Ricardo play and sing in our home, was “Piece of Wood and Steel.”

There was a little controversy that arose when David Alan Coe released it on an album and listed himself as the writer. That eventually got straightened out.

“Richard is a huge, gentle bear of a man with a rollicking, roll-with-the-punches attitude toward show business success or lack of same,” Robert Oermann wrote in The Tennessean in 1983. He added, “He’s a man-child who has retained the wide-eyed wonder of youth as he has become a godfather to the new generation of struggling pickers.”

That description fits the man perfectly. He made more than twenty albums and had songs recorded by artists such as Johnny Cash and Guy Clark. He is mentioned in Rodney Crowell’s song “Nashville 1972” as a poet. Another apt description.

But on a deeply personal level, Ricardo’s music touched me in a way that only “truth” and “real” can do.

Anytime life gets tough for me, I have one go-to as far as soothing music for my soul. It is none other than “Rockin’ To The Rhythm of the World.” It always puts me back in sync.

And there is another that I carry the lyrics to in my wallet and have for well over fifteen years called “Useful Girl.” I was that useful girl and it spoke to me in ways I can’t explain. The song was written from a true story (as many of Richard’s songs were). He loved history and loved, even more, expressing it in the poetry of song.

When the news came that Richard J. Dobson had passed away, my heart broke into a million pieces. I know that death is as much a part of life as is birth, but it doesn’t lessen the blow or the grief. I want everyone to know what an amazing artist and person Richard J. Dobson was. He was a true friend to Rick and myself and continued to be to me, after Rick’s passing.

This picture was taken at our music store a year or so before Rick passed away.

Rick,Jan,Ricardo,Edith
L-R Rick Sikes, Jan Sikes, Richard Dobson, Edith Dobson

Ricardo wrote a song telling Rick’s story, “The Old Rhythm Rebel.” I am happy that he wrote and recorded it while Rick was still alive to hear it and be able to appreciate and acknowledge the honor he felt.

This post is longer than I normally make, but there isn’t any way to make it shorter and express what’s in my heart. I loved Ricardo like a brother. I was thrilled for him when I received his email telling me that his work was being archived in the Woodson Research Center at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Well, there simply isn’t enough room in this post to list all of his accomplishments including a film debut in “Heartworn Highways.”

Besides all of the music, Ricardo also wrote and published three memoirs, “The Gulf Coast Boys,” “Pleasures of the High Rhine,” and “The Years The Wind Blew Away.” 

His most recent CD release was a collaboration with Texas author, W.C. Jameson, “Plenty Good People.” It, along with most of Ricardo’s music, can be found on Amazon.

 

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Richard Dobson and Jan Sikes at a Llano Music Festival 2011

 

 

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Myself, Richard Dobson and Kay Perot in Austin 2015

To say there is a gaping hole in my heart is putting it mildly. I just know Rick, Roxy, and Ricardo are having a reunion in the other world. I can only imagine the conversations.

RIP Richard J. Dobson 3-11-42 to 12-16-17.

A life well-lived – a story well-told…

 

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My own personal collection of Richard Dobson music