2: Mickey Newbury: Crystal & Stone

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Joe Ziemer

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What do... Tom Jones, Joan Baez, John Denver, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, B B King, Manowar, Charley Rich, Linda Ronstadt, Roy Orbison and Johnny Rodriguez... have in common? Mickey Newbury. They recorded his songs. Matter of fact, Newbury's material has been covered by almost 500 artists. That's just about everybody. His inspirational ballad An American Trilogy has been recorded by more than 150 artists. It was Elvis' showstopper. His Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) is the generational rocker that launched Kenny Rogers into the stratosphere. Mickey Newbury, who grew up on Houston's tough North side, is the only songwriter to place four top hits on four different charts... simultaneously! The train hopper was also instrumental in mentoring Kris Kristofferson, who says, God, I learned more about songwriting from Mickey than I did any other single human being. He was my hero and still is. Shotgun Willie Nelson adds, He was one of the best writers we've ever had and one of the best friends I've ever had. And that's not all. Newbury's 28 albums enjoy an extensive cult following. Peers consider him among the best of the best, and many refer to his albums as perfect. Some even call him a modern day Stephen Foster. Why then is Mickey Newbury known only to insiders and a select few outsiders? A well-kept secret? Too good for the masses? Two truths can be stated: The man can't be pigeonholed, and he refused to sell out. Like crystal and stone, his story is clearly and solidly laid out. It may even change a few truths. As Mickey wrote,Time has a way of changing everything-Truth has a way of changing all the time. At long last, Mickey Newbury's biography and musicology is available. Containing 18 chapters, rare pictures and 140,000 words, the insightful book was several years in the making by Joe Ziemer, Mickey's friend and discographer.