Kenny Rogers

21 Mar

kenny avi cropped

The purpose of the Chinese Bioweapon is revealed. Kenneth Ray Rogers, quintessential Voice of America and eminent philosopher-bard passed away yesterday of “natural causes” at 81.

On a warm summer evening something blew up in the Philippines. 2017. Bigger than a thundercrack. I was in a whorehouse rained in by a crazy monsoon and the place went black. ISIS still had territory there. There were government warnings not to travel. Might have been a bomb. The place went black and Lady Gaga that the girls were dancing to cut to just the roar of the rain. We did karaoke from our phones. One of the girls knew Dolly’s part from “Islands in the Stream.” They all know Kenny there– the fishermen play “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town” from their catamarans. Some of the last Kenny Rogers’ Roasters, in Manila. I’m not much of a singer. But Kenny was with me. His spirit took hold of my throat. It was my karaoke song with Nikol. Took on new meaning when she almost died.

Sitting on the top of the back seat in my Dad’s 70’s Skylark convertible with my cousins when I was ten, whipping around dirt roads singing “The Gambler.” Takes on new meaning since he died.

In 2012 I wrote about Kenny Rogers constantly. Some reason I can’t remember. Maybe Adam Carolla and Norm MacDonald’s exegesis of “Ruby.” It was a joke but not. I love Kenny’s music. I love his philosophy. I’m not the best singer, he said in an interview. But when you come to my show you’re gonna have the best time.

Kenny had limited range, but this is how he went toe-to-toe with Dolly Parton–prodigy songwriter, vocal acrobat, beautiful, charming, sincere, titanic jugs. Fierce Tennessee hill woman vs. Kenny, laconic Texas flatlander. No one’s here to show anybody up. We’re here to give ’em the best time.

 

 

This is how he tried doo-wop, psychedelia, country rock, straight country, middle of the road, back to country. Give ’em the best time.

Kenny was ridiculous. CBS made five The Gambler TV movies. I haven’t seen them–they might be The Seventh Seal. But I doubt it. Kenny made Six Pack, a family film about a down on his luck racecar driver adopting ruffian orphans. He put his face on chicken restaurants. He set up a private phone sex line for his mistresses to hear him tell stories about plantation slave sex in his crackly baritone. Kenny Rogers was a “fuck it” kind of dude. He was married five times. He loved a goat named “Smitty.”

Kenny was ridiculous but they know this god damn picture in Namibia and he made that song when he was 40. You know even just the silhouette of that beard and when you see it you think of a laughing, smiling, kindly man. A man with great stories to tell. Pull up a chair by the fire, you’re gonna have the best time.

TheGamblerAlbumCover

And he kept killing it into his last years. This was 2015. It’s corny as hell and see if you don’t weep. Kenny put what he knew and what he felt into a song. He transcended irony. Give ’em the best time.

 

’72 Kenny on horse quaaludes ripping the bass:

 

 

Hilarious horny Kenny cucking the drummer:

 

 

They asked him about Dolly once. Why is she so great. He said because she truly is who she presents to the world. Be who you are. Be who you present to the world.

Weird to get sad over a country singer and chicken magnate whom you once wrote about engaging in occult sex rituals with Linda Ronstadt. But I mean it. Kenny made the world a better place. He taught me something. I’m sad he’s gone and I’m glad he was here. Rest in Power.

3 Responses to “Kenny Rogers”

  1. smol March 21, 2020 at 1:28 pm #

    Rest in Power, Kenny. Say hi to my mom for me.

  2. K-hole March 21, 2020 at 4:49 pm #

    I sing ‘Just Dropped In’ as my karaoke song. I remember thinking you were a man of taste when I first started reading your blog and realized you were a fan too. Those posts are still great. Kenny was an honest-to-God American hero and someone we should strive to emulate.

    F

  3. verybrief March 21, 2020 at 5:14 pm #

    Liked it, might have to start listening to Kenny fukin Rogers now. Also you got a typo its macdonald not mcdonald

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