Who was/is Kenny Rogers ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Kenny Rogers

Geb. 21. 8. 1938 in Houston - Texas
Record Labels: Jolly Rogers, Mercury, Reprise, United Artists, Liberty, RCA
Erster Hit: Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town (1969)
Erster No. 1 Hit: Lucille (1977)

Kenny Rogers, einst Mitglied des Bobby Doyle Trios, der Kirby Stone Four und der New Christy Minstrels, gründete 1967 zusammen mit ein paar Ex-Minstrels die Gruppe The First Edition. Die Formation hatte auch prompt ein paar Hits, doch dann machte sich Kenny Rogers Anfang der 70er Jahre selbständig und schaffte nach ein paar kleineren Erfolgen mit „Lucille“ einen Riesenhit. Seither ist die Kette großer Kenny Rogers Hits nicht mehr abgerissen. Berühmte Duett-Partnerinnen von Kenny Rogers waren Dottie West, Kim Carnes und Dolly Parton.


Kenny Rogers

Ruben James

Kenny Rogers and the First Edition

Ruben James

(Alex Harvey)

recorded 1969; Producer: Jimmy Bowen; Arrangers: Glen D. Hardin & Mike Post

with Kenny Rogers: vocal; and the First Edition (Mike Settle, Terry Williams, possibly Thelma Camacho: vocals); others unknown

Reprise 0854

master M17354


Released during the rise of Black Power, Ruben James was a sepia-toned snapshot of an America rooted in shared rural values, and thus had limited relevance to whites fleeing the downtown core or blacks under martial law. "I remember mules, remember them well," wrote Barry Etris, who grew up around Alpharetta, Georgia. "When my father was [plowing], he used every cuss word in his vocabulary. Sometimes, I would watch him. He would be bare to the waist, wearing faded cut-off khakis and lace-up work boots. As he retreated down a long row in the prime of his manhood, tanned and golden in the sun, with his broad back and muscular arms controlling the single-tree plow, I thought he looked like Apollo driving his chariot across the sky. I didn't know then that the Gods die, that we would someday find Apollo lying on his back in a furrow beside his steed with the reins still in his hands, never to rise again." Etris's song about his father made its way to United Artists (Unart) Music in Nashville, run by Billy Edd Wheeler, the writer of Jackson, Ode To The Little Brown Shack Out Back, etc. Another songwriter at Unart, Alex Harvey, worked for Wheeler. "Billy's the one who taught me how to write songs," Harvey said later. "When I think back to Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, I hear simple melodies. Rimbaud, Frost, and others wrote simple but profound poems.

That's what I was after. I was there when Barry Etris brought in 'Ruben James.' It was a song about a white man, and it didn't really work. Billy said, 'Can you do something with this?' Across from my dad's little country store in West Tennessee, was a blacksmith shop run by a couple of black men. When my dad got tuberculosis, those men became my fathers. And when my dad was born, his mother couldn't make milk, and a black woman named Majula lived not far from them, and she'd just had a baby, Jimmy Lee, so my dad suckled one breast and Jimmy Lee the other." Billy Edd Wheeler sent the song to Unart's west coast manager, Eddie Reeves, who pitched it to Kenny Rogers by following him around a golf course singing it. Rogers had followed But You Know I Love You with Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town. He followed Ruby with Ruben James, and it reached #26 on the pop charts. All was not well in the studio. "I saw what condition their condition was in," their producer Jimmy Bowen wrote, "and it was not good. Kenny, Mike Settle, and Terry Williams got into a screaming match over the harmony parts that turned into a fist-fight." Thelma Camacho quit, and among those auditioning to replace her was Karen Carpenter. Mike Settle left soon after Ruben, and the personnel changed rapidly until the First Edition split in 1974. Since 1969, Ruben James has mostly been recorded by country artists, including Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Glen Campbell, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

As a postscript, Reuben James was an early nineteenth century American naval hero who had three ships named in his honor. When one of them was sunk in 1941, Woody Guthrie wrote the first song titled Reuben James; in fact, the First Edition's record might have been spelled Ruben James to differentiate it. Title aside, the two songs bear no relation each other.

- Colin Escott -

Various Country & Western Hit Parade 1969

Read more at:
Copyright © Bear Family Records

More information about Kenny Rogers on
Kenny Rogers: Lucille - The Collection (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDSPEC2023

Item in stock

(Spectrum) 20 Tracks - Original 1970s Capitol masters!

Instead of:$12.92 * $9.38 *

Kenny Rogers: They Don't Make Them Like They Used To
Art-Nr.: RCA5633

Item in stock

LP on RCA USA RECORDS by - They Don't Make Them Like They Used To

Instead of:$18.76 * $14.75 *

Kenny Rogers: Christmas Greetings
Art-Nr.: CD5272872

Item in stock

(2000/CAPITOL) 10 tracks

Instead of:$17.64 * $11.74 *

Kenny Rogers: I Prefer The Moonlight
Art-Nr.: RCA6484

Item in stock

LP on RCA USA RECORDS by - I Prefer The Moonlight

Instead of:$18.76 * $14.75 *

Kenny Rogers: Christmas Live! (2010)
Art-Nr.: CDSPR46465

Item in stock

CD on SPRING HOUSE RECORDS by Kenny Rogers - Christmas Live! (2010)

Instead of:$17.41 * $11.74 *

Kenny Rogers: For The Good Times (Japan) *** Rare
Art-Nr.: LPP13179

Item in stock

(MCA/JAPAN) 16 tracks - Mega rare Kenny Rogers MCA Japan release with all his hits from the 70s, LP size linernotes sheet written in Japanese by Hideki Masubuchi plus LP size lyrics sheet !!!

$176.94 *

Kenny Rogers: Love Lifted Me - Kenny Rogers (2-CD)
Art-Nr.: CDED2039

Item in stock

(2009/Edsel) 21 tracks - originally sealed This is the first of five Edsel packages that reissue the ten solo albums by country superstar Kenny Rogers,released on the United Artists and Liberty labels at the height of his wordwide popularity between 1976 and 1983.

$70.74 *

Kenny Rogers: Daytime Friends - Love Or Something Like It (2-CD)
Art-Nr.: CDED2040

Item in stock

(2009/Edsel) 22 tracks - very rare copy - originally sealed This is the second of five Edsel packages that reissue the ten solo albums by country superstar Kenny Rogers,released on the United Artists and Liberty labels at the height of his wordwide popularity...

$141.54 *

Kenny Rogers: Kenny Rogers
Art-Nr.: LN10208

Currently not available

LP on CAPITOL RECORDS by - Kenny Rogers

$15.22 *

Kenny Rogers: Amazing Grace (2011)
Art-Nr.: CDSPR46464

Currently not available

$17.41 *

Kenny Rogers: The Best Of (3-CD)
Art-Nr.: CD267945

Currently not available

(2009/EMI) 53 tracks, original recordings

Instead of:$17.64 * $11.74 *

Kenny Rogers: The Love Of God
Art-Nr.: CD1118001

Currently not available

(2011/CRACKER BARREL) 12 tracks (43:30) digipac. Amazing sacred album with the cream of Nashville's pickers and singers - Cracker Barrel exclusive - not in stores.

$22.72 *

Kenny Rogers: 21 Number (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDEMI28132

Currently not available

CD on EMI RECORDS by Kenny Rogers - 21 Number (CD)

$9.38 *

Kenny Rogers: Kenny Rogers &
Art-Nr.: CDRV258

Currently not available

(2007/RAVEN) 23 tracks 1977-79 with 8 page color booklet

$27.08 *