Sunday, August 09, 2009


Several months ago, the folk world was alerted to the impending end of Mike Seeger, an ill folkie who moved to a hospice knowing that he'd soon be going to his grave.
Folk fans were told to send cards to Mike through his booking agency, Folklore Productions, who'd forward them to the hospice that was caring for him. Mike was grateful to receive them. He'd fought illness for a long time, first leukemia, and then plasma cell myeloma, a cancer of the blood.

Mike (August 15, 1933 - August 7, 2009) issued many solo albums, but probably had wider success with his group the New Lost City Ramblers, a trio rivaled only by the Kingston bunch back in the late 50's and early 60's. The Ramblers were far more bluegrass than the Kingston Trio, favoring older and more traditional tunes, sung in a less commercial and much more authentic way. When you hear the download, you'll think you're listening to something recorded in the 1930's.
And yes, of course, Mike Seeger's famous siblings are his half-brother Pete, and his sister Peggy, who joined him for the 1967 album "Peggy and Mike Seeger Sing." The timely song for this untimely death, is about The Great Depression of the 30's, which isn't too far in grimness from the "recession" of today.

"No Depression in Heaven"
Instant download, or listen on line. No pop-ups or porn ads.

A day earlier, August 6th, Otha Young died. He was 66. His name is well known to Juice Newton fans. He was a key member of her band from the Silver Spur era on RCA in the 70's, right through her hit-filled time at Capitol and beyond. He also wrote one of her best known songs, "The Sweetest Thing (I've Ever Known)." It was #1 on the country charts and was #7 on the pop charts.

The nice price RCA compilation "Juice Newton and the Silver Spurs: The Early Years"
has eight tracks, six of them from Otha Young: "The Sweetest Thing," "One Step Away," "Just Remember Who Your Friends Are," "Love is a Word," "Roll On Truckers" and "Won't You Stay Just a Little Bit Longer." He also wrote "Close Enough, ""It's Not Impossible" and "What Can I Do with My Heart" among others, all covered by Juice on various albums. Juice has a MySpace page, still puts together tour dates a few times a month, and will always be singing the great songs of Otha Young, who leaves behind a wife and daughter.

When it came to creating a slick, commercial crossover tune with a good hook and some nice guitar licks, Otha was the man. Nothing wrong with giving the public a song that's catchy from the very first listen, and is still fun after dozens of spins. For some songwriters, that skill was not possible. For Otha Young? Well, enjoy "It's Not Impossible," ripped from a vinyl copy of "Well Kept Secrets."

It's Not Impossible. Sung by Juice Newton. Written by Otha Young

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