LifeWalk

______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

Rock Me Gently July 27, 2018

We just finished season 4 of Ray Donovan, the final episode of which ended with the song “Rock Me Gently.”  This brought back memories of being at the Pizza King in Bluffton, Indiana.  It was 1974, and I played the hell out of that Andy Kim 45 on their jukebox.  I also played side B a lot, which was simply the instrumental version of the song.  I just totally loved the production, arrangement and the keyboard work.
After the Ray Donovan episode and the song finished, I was going on about how much I enjoyed the song.  While reminiscing, I said to my wife, “Ya know, that sounds a lot like Michael Omartian,” (my idol when it comes to producers/arrangers/ keyboardists).
Spoiler alert: It was Michael.

Chances are, whether or not you know it, you’ve heard Omartian’s work.  He’s produced, composed, played, conducted, arranged or in other ways worked with/for the likes of Steely Dan, Amy Grant, Diana Ross, The Four Tops, Keith Urban, Gladys Knight, Dusty Springfield, Kenny Loggins, “The Theme from Happy Days,” The Righteous Brothers, The Imperials, Michael Bolton, Robert Palmer, Eric Clapton, Veggie Tales, Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Rod Stewart, The Partridge Family, Reba McEntire, Jerry Garcia, Peter Cetera, Shania Twain, Cher, Barry Manilow, and on and on and on!!!

Listening to “Rock Me Gently” at the Pizza King back in 1974, I had no idea who Omartian was.
It wasn’t until a few years later, when I heard an album called “With Footnotes” by a sibling group named “The 2nd Chapter of Acts” that I became aware of him. (This was during a stage of my life where all music had to pass the litmus test: “Is that a Christian song?!?!” But that’s another post someday.)
Later, Michael released the ground-breaking album “White Horse.”   “White Horse” was released and billed as a “Christian” album.  But don’t let that put you off of it. Sonically, it’s one of the best LPs of all time, IMHO.

BUT, the point of this post is this:  The simple hope that you’ll listen to the song “Rock Me Gently,” just because I like to share things I enjoy.  If you’ve never heard it, enjoy it as a nice little pop-rock song.  But, whether you’ve heard it before or not, listen to it with the focus on production, keyboards, and BGV’s (especially toward the end).  It’s just a carnival for the ears.  44 years after 1st hearing it, it still gets my blood pumping.





OR:


Listen Here: https://youtu.be/PYH4BmrQqsY



Oh. Then, if you’ve never heard any of the songs my wife and I have recorded, go over to the right column under “re-union music” and check out some of our stuff.

 

Buffalo Richie June 2, 2011

SOMETHING’S  HAPPENING  HERE!


When I heard the remaining members of Buffalo Springfield were at it again,
I had to break out Richie Furay’s “I’ve Got A Reason.”

Sonically,  this album still holds it’s own as one of the
best of all times.  Not to minimize Richie’s talents, but
my musical idol Michael Omartian’s influence is more
than noticeable.
These are great songs, masterfully produced, and just
plain fun to listen to, and sing along with.


Back in 1976, when this came out, I was part of a youth group that ran
what we thought passed for a bookstore.  We never sold much, but it
was a place to hang out and listen to music.  We had some some good times.
Wow. It’s like that was lifetime ago.

Anyway, “Jesus music” was starting to see some higher quality recordings at this time.
Certainly Norman’s “Upon This Rock,” and Petra’s debut record had good writing, talented musicians, and some great songs, but
the production money just wasn’t there.
Part of the backing for “…Reason”came via a partnership with Asylum records, to whom Richie
promised that, although the record would reflect his Christian faith, it would not
be “preachy.”  It was a positive LP, without being religious.  This gave the album a much greater marketability.

I think the only other Furay LPs I’ve owned
were “Dance A Little Light,” with a cover of one of my childhood
faves, Jay and the American’s “This Magic Moment,” and Richie’s last before his long
musical hiatus, “Seasons Of Change.”

 


Of “Dance A Little Light,” one reviewer said,
“Though recorded by what was technically a Christian rock group, [it] is
a far cry from the heavy-handed, musically inept evangelizing often associated with the genre.”
Frankly, that’s pretty high praise.



I think the next time I was aware of anything Furay was doing is when he teamed up with
the Elefante Brothers for “When Will the World See That We Need Jesus,” which
would later be covered by Petra. [Video below.]


I like music.  I have one on the widest variety of “likes,” if you will, of the people I know.
I can never imagine being stuck in one decade or genre of music.
BUT, if I had to pick a favorite period, it would be the late 60’s through the 70’s.

My wife and I have seen a lot of the “old” acts in the past few years:
The Monkees, Denis Deyoung, Alice Cooper, An ABBA tribute band, and The Grass Roots, to name just some.
We recently saw B.J. Thomas, and we have tickets for upcoming concerts to
Hermin’s Hermits and Three Dog Night.




So Richie, Stephen and Neil;
“For What It’s Worth,” I would be greatly pleased if you
would get yourselves to Fort Wayne, Indiana.
I’d love to add Buffalo Springfield to the above list,
before the man come and take you away.


[Click on image to read the
Rolling Stone Article on Buffalo Springfield]



[Click on any of the Richie Furay album covers above for reviews and purchase options.]








 

 
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