The Front Porch Go to Mickey Newbury Back Porch
Back Porch


Author:  Michael O'Hanlon
E-mail:  douglasweekly@eircom.net
Date:  1/28/2004 6:00:46 AM
Subject:  Thanks for the sweet Memories Mickey!
Message:  Way back in 1970, I bought the Andy Williams 45 single " Can't Help Falling in Love". Most of you will know it also as an Elvis Presley classic. Andy's version was completely different, a faster more uptempo version. Today, if you buy a single you get no 'B' side, only about three or four different versions of the same song. In the old days you could be lucky and sometimes the 'B' side was better than the 'A' side. The 'B' side of Andy's hit was a tune called "Sweet Memories" written by somebody called Mickey Newbury. Hey! I thought this is a good song, I must watch out for anything else by this guy.
A few years later, I think it was about '72 or '73 I was browsing through my favourite record store, Hennessy's in Oliver Plunket Street when Lo! and Behold what did I see but a double album by Mickey Newbury. One LP was 'Live at Montezuma Hall' and the other was 'Looks Like Rain'. I bought the album, noticing that there was one more left on the rack. I took it home and played it, and played it and played until my wife became a Mickey Newbury fan. At that time I ran a fast food outlet in the St. Lukes area of Cork. I've always believed that music was the food of love, not French-Fries!!
I copied the album on to a tape and played it in the Take-A-way every night and that's how I met Willie Greene. Willie lived in a flat in the St. Lukes area and like me he loved music. Once or twice a week he'd call in for his supper. Then one night he asked me "Who's that singing?" I replied Mickey Newbury. "He's very good," he said. I told him there was one copy of the album left in Hennessy's. the next day Willie bought the second and last copy. As far as I know we were the only two people in Cork with this classic album.
A few months later a policeman on the beat (A sight seldom seen nowadays) at night called in for a snack and again Mickey Newbury was singing in the background. We got talking and I soon discovered that he had more records than I had. This was the beginning of a long friendship with John Dwyer (known to his buddies in the Police Force as "Brother"). John then became a Mickey Newbury fan and eventually ended up owning more Mickey Newbury albums than I did. But he never got the "Live at Montazuma" album. Later on he moved up the country, but he always kept in touch, he'd phone me and ask how the family were and eventually ask, " I don't suppose Willie Greene would sell the "Montazuma" album?" This went on for years and Willie finally agreed to give a present of it to John. But John didn't stop there.
John was now living only about 45 minutes drive from Dublin, with access to bigger and sometimes better record shops. When I'd pay him a visit he'd produce the albums " Frisco Mabel Joy", "Lovers", "The Sailor", "His Eye is on the Sparrow", "I Came to Hear the Music", there was no stopping him. I couldn't keep up with him. Although he did buy two copies of the "Frisco Mabel Joy" album and gave me one. The album was worth buying if only for the line from Frisco Depot " Here's a world full of people, and so many people alone".
Then a few months ago John rang me and informed me that the Mickey Newbury Collection had been released in an 8CD Collection Box, also included is a booklet with all the song words and a bio of Mickey. Who is Mickey Newbury ? He's a poet, and a singer of songs. Songs about life, love and a lot more. What kind of songs? A country song, Blues songs, Folk songs, this man has no label.
Three weeks ago John called down to see me. But I was waiting with my 8CD box collection. I was confident he couldn't top this, but I was wrong. He produced two new Mickey Newbury CD's "Lulled By The Moonlight" and a live album entitle "It Might As Well Be The Moon" (Which is a line from the song Frisco Depot. Whoever said, " One cannot improve upon perfection" obviously hasn't heard of Mickey Newbury. Two brilliant albums.
So readers, have you ever known me to steer you wrong? Beg, Borrow (Don't steal) and get this collection. Mickey also has a web site. Just type in his name and his web page appears. Place your order or order it from any good record store. Then when you get your order, buy a bottle of wine, light a fire, turn the light down low and enjoy the musical magic of Mickey Newbury.
A week before I went on holidays around Ireland, I took my car down to Brian O'Mahony of Douglas Motors (the car would need a service and a few other adjustments). So when I called down to collect my car the next day, the work was done. Brian asked "Who's that singing on the tape in your car?"
" Mickey Newbury" I replied. " I like his stuff" said Brian. "Keep the tape, Brian" I answered. (Another convert I thought to myself). This week my car wouldn't start (damp weather and rain) so I rang Brian. He called and checked it out. " How's the Mickey Newbury tape?" I asked. "Mick" said Brian; "Did you ever have a tape that you never stopped playing? But" he continued "I loaned it out to a friend who liked it and I'm still waiting to get it back".
I read recently that Mickey has been quite ill, I'd like to wish him well. I never did get to see or hear him in concert. Although John told me it was rumoured that he played support to Don Williams on a European tour some years ago.
Sometimes I feel like St. Paul on the road to Damascus, spreading the gospel of Mickey Newbury on my way through life, and who knows someday I might get to meet him. We're lucky here in Cork to have a great live music venue like the Lobby, where I've heard and met great singer/songwriters such as Townes Vanzandt, John Stewart, Steve Young, Peter Rowan, Eric Bogle, Tom Russell and many more, perhaps someday the man might pay us a visit?
The philosopher Plato once wrote "Music is a moral law, it gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness and a gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and leads to all that is good, true and beautiful. I think that just about sums up, singer songwriter, poet and craftsman supreme, Mickey Newbury.

Thanks for the music Mickey.
Michael O'Hanlon

 Thanks for the sweet Memories Mickey! by Michael O'Hanlon  at 1/28/2004 6:00:46 AM
 Re: Thanks for the sweet Memories Mickey! by Michael O'Hanlon  at 1/28/2004 6:22:20 AM
 Re: Thanks for the sweet Memories Mickey! by Gerry Beatty at 1/28/2004 6:37:48 AM
 Re: Thanks for the sweet Memories Mickey! by Laura Shayne  at 1/28/2004 8:20:04 AM
 Re: Thanks for the sweet Memories Mickey! by Karen R  at 1/28/2004 9:26:57 AM
 Re: Thanks for the sweet Memories Mickey! by Doug Lang  at 1/28/2004 4:19:02 PM
 Re: Thanks for the sweet Memories Mickey! by Texas Granny at 1/28/2004 7:09:12 PM
 Re: Thanks for the sweet Memories Mickey! by Mamie at 1/28/2004 10:19:43 PM
 Re: Thanks for the sweet Memories Mickey! by RICHARD A. SEINFELD  at 2/1/2004 2:04:17 AM
 Re: Thanks for the sweet Memories Mickey! by paul hawkins  at 2/20/2008 10:35:44 PM