Sunday, January 15, 2023

Abraham and Martin

John and Bobby: Twenty-six years after they performed and recorded At the Ryman, Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers reunited to perform the album live for the Ryman's 125th anniversary. PBS recorded the 2017 performance, and Abq Jew recorded it from a PBS broadcast.

At the Ryman

Wikipedia tells us:
At the Ryman is a 1992 live album by Emmylou Harris and her then-newly formed acoustic backing band, The Nash Ramblers, recorded at the one-time home of the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

The concerts' and album's high acclaim are given near-universal credit for the renewed interest in reviving the dilapidated Ryman Auditorium as an active venue after nearly 20 years of dormancy. Soon after, the building was completely renovated and has since become a concert hall.

The album won Harris and the Ramblers a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the 34th ceremony. In 2017, At the Ryman was released on vinyl to celebrate 25 years since the original release, Harris reunited with the Nash Ramblers to perform the album in its entirety.
Every now and then, Abq Jew is just in the mood to watch the video and listen to the phenomenal 2017 concert. He did so a few days ago, and was once again (as every time) struck by the beauty, the purity of the performance.

This time, one song stood out. We all know it; we've heard it for years in our heads. As we remember Dr Martin Luther King, Jr this week - the song still reverberates. Here is the original:

Abraham, Martin, and John was originally recorded by Dion in 1968. As Abq Jew wrote in November 2014's I Wonder Why:
In 1968, as a solo performer, Dion [DiMucci] recorded Abraham, Martin and John, written by Dick Holler.  
It is a tribute to social change icons, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr, John F Kennedy and Robert F Kennedy. It was written as a response to the assassination of King and the younger Kennedy in April and June 1968.  
When producer Phil Gernhard initially presented the song to DiMucci, the latter didn't care for it. With the persistence of Gernhard, and Dion's wife Susan, he flew to New York that summer. He recorded the song in just one take.  
Laurie Records released the single in September of that year and it quickly raced up the charts, peaking at number four in December. DiMucci, now a star again, was invited to sing this comeback hit on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, as well as many other top shows.

Didn't you love the things that they stood for?
Didn't they try to find some good for you and me?
And we'll be free, someday soon
It’s gonna be one day 

Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers performed Abraham, Martin, and John as the second part of a medley with It’s a Hard Life Wherever You Go, another Dick Holler "hit" - which he co-wrote with the late singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith.

It's a hard life
It's a hard life
It's a very hard life
It's a hard life wherever you go
If we poison our children with hatred
Then the hard life is all that they'll know

Dick Holler

For some reason, Abq Jew finds the name Dick Holler ... very interesting. He appears to be (at 88, Ken O'Hara!) alive and kicking. And - to sorta complete the trifecta record - Dick Holler is also the co-writer of the 1966 hit Snoopy vs the Red Baron

Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.

MLK Do Right

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