was another important songwriter in Nashville in the 60s, a Houston,
Texas lad by the name of Mickey Newbury. Signed by Acuff-Rose
in 1964, within a few years Newbury had cut quite an indelible swath
in the music world. Tom Jones had a hit with Funny Familiar
Forgotten Feelings, Eddy Arnold hit with Here Comes
the Rain Baby, Solomon Burke hit with Time Is A Thief,
Andy Williams hit with Sweet Memories and Kenny Rogers,
a friend of Newbury's from school days in Houston, hit with Just
Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In.
He called himself a country artist, mostly because it wasn't cool
to be country at that time, but his songs were universal, rising to
the top of country, pop, rhythm & blues and easy listening charts.
For a complete listing see: Discography at: http://www.mickeynewbury.com.
Newbury would be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
Newbury and Kristofferson became friends and it was Newbury who introduced
Kristofferson to Roger
Miller who was the first to record, Me and Bobbie McGee.
When I asked about his friendship with Newbury, Kristofferson said:
"Mickey played the most important role of any single songwriter in
my life. You could see a change in my writing after I met him. In
particular, Sunday Morning Coming Down. Mickey was a true songwriter
and really good at it. I feel real grateful to have known him."
Kristofferson and Newbury would each go their separate ways but remained
lifelong friends. Harry Dean Stanton caught a Kristofferson
performance and thought he would be perfect for the role of Cisco
Pike in a movie by the same name, and just like that, Hollywood
moved into Kristofferson's path. It was not anything he had previously
pursued he says. Newbury, who possessed one of the most beautiful
voices anywhere, recorded several albums of his own songs, but his
reluctance to tour as a performer put him at odds with record labels.
He left Nashville in the 1980s, and moved to the Oregon coast with
the love of his life, Susan Pack. Kenny Rogers had introduced
the couple when Susan, a singer and a former Miss Oregon, had toured
with Rogers's group The First Edition. Newbury died at his
home in Oregon in 2002 after a lengthy battle with emphysema. He and
Susan had four children, Chris, Leah, Stephen and Laura Shayne.
Francisco Mabel Joy Video Shoot
L to R, Waylon Payne, Sarah Jannett, Laura Shayne Newbury Hunsucker,
Kris Kristofferson, Kacey Jones. Courtesy Kacey Jones
a chain of events that support the theory that life is a circle, Kacey
Jones, a Nashville-based singer, became friends with Newbury's
mother Mamie, a beautiful, feisty lady who lives near Houston. Their
friendship led to Jones recording an album of Newbury's songs. (http://www.kaceyjonessingsmickeynewbury.com)
One of the songs, San Francisco Mabel Joy, has been recorded
by a wide range of artists, from Joan Baez to David Allen
Coe. It tells a poignant story of a young farmer who hops a freight
train in Georgia and ends up in L.A. Homeless and lonely he falls
in love with a lady of the evening, Mabel Joy. He has an unpleasant
encounter with a merchant marine at Mabel Joy's door and ends up in
It's a story that lends itself very well to video production and this
spring collaborators came to
Austin, Texas to add film to the song Newbury wrote more than
40 years ago. Waylon Payne, son of the late Sammi Smith plays
the young farmer. Newbury's youngest daughter Laura Shayne
plays Mabel Joy. Kristofferson plays the merchant marine. There are
also cameo appearances by Mamie and Newbury's brother Jerry. The video
is expected to air on the major music video channels but it can also
be viewed at: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6349916019740296537
recently marked his 70th birthday. Among numerous ACM, CMA and Grammy
awards was induction into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame
Texas in 2003. When he is not recording, touring, making movies,
music videos, accepting awards and other honors, he lives in Hawaii
with his third wife and their five children.
"I'm flattered to be recognized. It validates your feeling about whether
you are doing the right thing," he said when asked how it feels to
be the recipient of so many accolades. But I get most of my validation
from my 8 kids and 2 grandchildren," he said.