Mickey Newbury: Musical Pioneer You've Never Heard Of

Sometime in the late 1960's, Mickey wrote: "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" for Kenny Rogers and The First Edition. although based out of Nashville with publisher Acuff/Rose, Mickey had crossed over into pop. Then,  in 1973, Mickey arranged and copyrighted "American Trillogy" for Elvis Presley which was beamed by sattelight  from Hawaii all over the world live when Elvis performed there. There was also a double album that went with the concert and it seemed like Mickey had arrived. How could a guy with just these two credits (not to mention his albums on major labels), not be famous? I guess only Mickey really knew the answer to that question and he took it to his grave. But, to this day, Mickey Newbury is not famous or even well known. All I can say about this is perhaps he was just too good! God knows he was a very gifted Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist and a great human being with depth and humor to boot. 

Mickey helped: Kris Kristofferson, Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark and others from his house on the river in Nashville. Somehow although not a real well known artist, Mickey did manage to remain connected and would help his friends when he could. He drew a parallel between Paris in the 20's & Nashville in the 1960's and early 1970's. (I wish as an artist that I was there then. By the time I got there in the 1980's, things were already over for the outsiders in Nashville).

To close, I am going to recommend two fabulous CD's by Mickey released in the 1990's: 1) "Nights When I Am Sane." This is  a live recording of just Mickey doing his thing. Great songs, very moody and well done...perhaps my favorite! 2) "It Might As Well Be The Moon." this is taken from a line in "Frisco Depot" which is on this double CD. This is a very good example of what Mickey has done over the years and you might not only enjoy it...but learn from it. It's partly live partly studio recordings. Very good as well. I can't say enough about Mickey Newbury really without sounding kind of silly.  

By the way...pass on the news...Mickey Newbury was a genius!

Views: 689

Tags: Mickey, Newbury

Comment by Tim M. Otto on January 10, 2014 at 7:42pm

Just as a heads up...this article was originally much longer but got erased somehow mysteriously? My apologize.

Comment by Hal Bogerd on January 11, 2014 at 8:26am

Comment by Hal Bogerd on January 11, 2014 at 8:32am

And I wonder how many people heard but never realized who Newbury is in the lyrics....

"Hank William's pain songs, Newbury's train songs and Blue Eyes Cryin In the Rain".

Nice post Tim!

Comment by Tim M. Otto on January 11, 2014 at 11:22am

Hal, Nice to know I've got a fellow conspirator on here:).  Thanks for the video and meaningful words.

Comment by Kyla Fairchild on January 11, 2014 at 11:40am

There is a great Mickey Newbury feature article in the No Depression archive and also several reviews. http://archives.nodepression.com/artist/mickey-newbury/

Comment by Tim M. Otto on January 11, 2014 at 12:26pm

Thanks for the heads up Kyla...it figures that nodepression would have covered Mickey but I guess I missed it. I will check out your link. Best to you.

Comment by Terry Roland on January 11, 2014 at 6:46pm

Thank you Tim....Mickey remains unique today. The first time I heard him I stopped in my tracks and listened for a long long time...like the first time I heard Dylan or Waits or Cohen. Thank you for honoring him.

Comment by therewolff on January 12, 2014 at 11:38am

I had heard of Mickey Newbury long before I heard him. I had just bought the newest Joan Baez album and heard her singing a really beautiful weeper. I looked to see who wrote it. It wasn't until many years later I heard Mickey sing San Francisco Mabel Joy and realized the depth of the sadness that he expressed was only hinted at with Baez's version.

This is long but worth it.


Comment by Will James on January 13, 2014 at 8:35am

Sometimes his Nashphilharmonic  production was over the top... and I loved it! Up there with the greatest ever. I'm not familiar with the CD re-packaging as all mine are the original vinyl; my favorite LPs are the Elektra releases Frisco Mabel Joy and Heaven Help the Child, but obviously can't do wrong with that 8-disk box set. If you get just one, make it Frisco Mabel Joy, every song a gem ("like a broken diamond necklace left scattered on the grass").

Comment by Will James on January 13, 2014 at 8:55am

And thanks Kyla for the link to the Peter Blackstock obit, excellent.


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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.