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Living legend
Monday, 15.06.2015, 20:20
oh what a night...
Richard Dobson (USA)
It had to be around 1970 and Richard James Joseph Dobson II, an American singer-songwriter was making a living working on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Prior to that he was born in Tyler, Texas in 1942 but he’s always been ok hanging near the water.

He’s now landlocked in Switzerland with his Swiss wife and next to loving her he loves fishing and became fluent in all the local fishes names and peculiarities. (Does he know about the elusive trout in the Schanzengraben?) Four boys now call him grandpa. Anyways, life was different way back when he almost sank deep into the vortex of boredom on that rig, thought about writing a book and started writing songs, like the one about the truck driver and the truck stop waitress. He knew he had a knack for this, got off the platform and moved to Nashville. And a subsequent life on a different stage, a musician’s life on the road. With illustrious buddies like Rex Bell, Mickey White and «the looniest, most gifted of the bunch, Townes Van Zandt». In 1984 it was Johnny Cash and June Carter who performed Richard Dobson’s «Baby Ride Easy» at a Christmas Special in Montreux. «I heard about it, was happy and forget about it» was his comment. You can hear the song on the posthumous Johnny Cash «Out Among The Stars» from 2014. The song got additional exposure by June Carter’s daughter Carlene who recorded it in collaboration with Dave Edmunds.

You see, even after all this time, Richard’s still virtually unknown to a larger audience as a performing artist. But his writings and compositions are not. Take names like David Allen Coe, Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith, Kelly Willis a. o. who all dipped into his talent and recorded his songs.

When not touring or fishing he finally found the time to write a book which garnered four stars from Rolling Stone. It’s autobiographical and it tells about his time with Van Zandt under the title «The Gulf Coast Boys». Check out his newsletters «The Years The Wind Blew Away» as well which are available in book form. «It’s a miracle we survived» said a thoughtful Townes before he left us way too soon. But it’s a miracle also that a living legend in the person of Richard Dobson’s here tonight to tell his tales through the songs he wrote. The way his colorful life inspired and powered him to do.

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