Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sunrise Overture

My Uncle Joe died of colon cancer in 1995, and I never really knew him that well.  The little I do know is that he was a musician, composer, performer, jazz instructor, and my dad's brother.  I didn't see him very often, and mostly I remember him from family gatherings at Christmas.  However, even though I hardly knew him, there is one thing about Uncle Joe that will always stand out in my early memories because of the profound affect it had on me.  Back in 1972, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition released an album called 'The Ballad of Calico'.  The album opens with my Uncle Joe playing a clarinet solo on a song called 'Sunrise Overture'.  It is a beautiful orchestral piece, describing musically the slow majestic progression of a desert sunrise.

'The Ballad of Calico' isn't a very well known record, and it differs from the more well known and popular country style that most people identify with Kenny Rogers... it's more of a mixture of rock, blues, country, folk, classical and gospel.  The entire album tells the story of Calico, a boom town and silver mine which existed in California during the late 1800's, and all of the songs are inspired by real people, places and events.  When I was just a little kid back in the late '70's, I used to lose hours listening to that album over and over.

Here is 'Sunrise Overture', with my Uncle Joe playing the clarinet.


Some information about my uncle, Joe Davis.


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