I Know Why They Call It the Great State of Texas

August 2, 2017

I just love LOVE how Texans are so easy to get along with. In general, but here I’m talking about people in business. Open and friendly and constructive and problem-solving and accomodating and welcoming. Everywhere I go in this state!

My Most Memorable Tips

July 26, 2017
I’m grateful to each and every member of the audience, but here are the tips that have been the most memorable.
— A little girl from Poland who threw all her pocket change into my guitar case (in zlotys!)
— $20 and the purchase of 2 CDs from a French couple after I had the temerity to sing La Mer IN FRENCH to them
— A beggar in the Times Square shuttle who danced uproariously for 15 minutes (no, he was not part of the act) and then, gave me two $2.00 bills
— The produce company lady who asked me to sing “What a Wonderful World” and then gave me a huge plate of sweet fruit and veg to take home
— The man who sat not 10 feet from me didn’t look at me once in his entire hour dinner (it was BBQ, don’t worry, I understand), getting up, dropping in a 20 and saying, “That was just great.”
— The Yakuza who kept me in whiskey and cognac every time I sang in his club in Osaka.
So, you see, all the delightful surprises one comes across in this profession.

Hey There, How About a Few More Super Songs?

July 19, 2017
Additions to the repetoire:
The Dummy Song (Mr. Louis Armstrong)
Bright Lights, Big City (Sonny James)
L-O-V-E (Nat Cole)
Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Age (Red Foley)

Even More Wonderful Songs Added to the Repetoire

July 10, 2017

Additions to the repetoire (with artist associated with the song in parens, at least in my mind):

♦ Someone To Watch Over Me (Gertrude Lawrence)

♦ Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)

♦ You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You (yes, I know the Deano version, but I like Scatman Crothers best)

♦ Mr. Bojangles (Sammy Davis, Jr.)

Airplay of Richie Kaye’s Music & Mirth CD Exceeds Expectations

June 22, 2017

Based on a recent analysis, webcasting (not terrestrial) stations have played our album “Richie Kaye’s Music & Mirth with Tony LaVorgna” nearly 65,000 times.

This is rather a lot more than we’d known before or even thought possible.

The revenue is a pittance in comparison, believe me, but the popularity of the tracks is truly heartening.

Even More Songs Added to the Solo Repetoire

June 18, 2017

New songs added to the solo repetoire:

  • Time Don’t Wait (Marty Stuart)
  • That Old Feeling (Doris Day)
  • Moulin Rouge (Line Renaud)
  • Danke Schoen (Wayne Newton) — I’m not singing that high, believe me! But with a key change every 16 bars, when you’re not still in your teens, ya gotta start real low if you don’t want to be singing like a castrato by the end!
  • Wish You Were Here (Eddie Fisher)
  • The Trouble with Drinkin’ — Aaron Lee Tasjan
  • Why They Call It Fallin’ — Lee Ann Womack

A New Steel String Acoustic Guitar — I’m Now Playing a Bedell Prototype

June 17, 2017
Friends, let me introduce you to a new love of mine, but I’ll only show you her back for now. Here is the cocobolo back of my new steel 6-string dreadnought. The shop at Bedell Guitars in Bend, Oregon made this fine and subtle instrument as a prototype for its upcoming series.
It called to me as if from angels on high at the Dallas International Guitar Festival. Sean Morrissey of Bedell and J.D. Walker of Guitar Maverick in Keller, TX walked out of the noisy hall with me to where I could really hear it and realized I’d discovered yet another voice.
The boys at Bedell call it the Revolution and I call it the Genius. It is just extraordinary. Played it out for the first time last night on a job. It rang beautifully through a K&K Sound Systems Meridian clamp-on mic/pre and into a tiny Fishman LoudBox Mini. A very new kind of a sound for me.
I’ll have a video with it later on. For audio you can hear right now:
Recorded straight into a Zoom H6 with very little mastering done.
(This image comes from the Bedell website and I hope the company doesn’t mind my using it — much better a picture than I could take myself. I don’t have a good picture of the front to share with you yet.)

Photos from a Session at Sugar Hill Studios

June 8, 2017

Two photos from a session last year at Sugar Hill Studios in Houston, TX. With a ’72 Yahama gut string and with the engineer on the session, Cody Franz, who did a great job.

Richie Kaye with a 1972 Yamaha gut string
Cody Franz, engineer at Sugar Hill Studios, with Richie Kaye

Photographer: Sam Kuslan

我家在那離 — A Taiwanese Song

June 6, 2017

[English speakers, see text below.]

愛上台灣本省土生土地的樂曲並欣賞台灣歌手唱法的老美現在2017年應該就有了,但30多年前卻比較稀少. 不知為何,本人對台灣歌曲的浪漫與悲哀,歡喜與痛苦感觸深刻.  當時準備出社會當歌手做表演的我,背誦不少台灣歌詞,包括洪榮宏,齊秦, 羅大佑,歐陽菲菲,蔡琴等歌手的名歌.

因為某些因素,我並沒有實現這個願望,沒有認真地在台進行追求. 這我一向認為可惜的誤會早已經變成歷史了. 反正讓我抱佛腳而自我提醒老歌詞道:”不知過了多少年惦記模糊的,我的心不變…”之所以,儘管時間很晚, 我就趁這此刻錄下一首老國語歌曲.

30多年前在台北市林森北路靠近國寶飯店曾有一家好萊塢餐廳(就在2樓要爬樓梯沒有電梯).吃鐵板燒可以聆聽現場音樂.我第一次在台音樂會就聽到劉家昌.當時對他本人不熟.沒想到台灣創作界會有一個音樂的楊傳廣. 因為當時台灣的音樂可以說很純樸.台灣人經濟興旺時沒時間也沒有興趣在藝術界發展. 所以,看到劉師傅聘請了一組三人弦奏團陪他唱, 讓我非常激動. 嗓子好聽的不得了.我就買下卡帶學一學.  “我家在那裡”就是我第一首能唱的國語歌曲.後來在上海表演時,認識到施鴻顎師傅,第一首給他唱就是這首.


In 2017, there are likely at least a few Americans who love the popular music of Taiwan and who admire Taiwanese singers.  But 30 years ago, I’m sure they were few.  I don’t know why, really, but I felt a deep attraction to and was moved by the romance, the sorrow, the joy and the hurt expressed as only native Taiwanese singers can.   As a young man in the 1980s, desiring to become a performer and singer, I learned many Taiwanese lyrics, including songs sung by Hong Jung-hung, Ch’i Ch’in, Luo Ta-You, Ouyang Fei-fei and Cai Ch’in, among others.  [Pronunciations at the bottom of this post.]

For many reasons, I didn’t pursue this inner desire to sing or perform in Taiwan.  But mistakes of the past are history, as I’ve come to learn with a bit of age and a lot of experience.  In any case, perhaps I am hoping against hope (clasping the feet of the Buddha, as Chinese say) that, as the old song puts it, “The vaguest of memories persisting for who knows how many years, but my heart hasn’t changed.”  Thus, even though it may be late, I thought I’d take this opportunity to sing one of the oldies.

30 years ago, on Lin Sen North Rd in Taipei, just down the block from the Ambassador Hotel, was a club called the Hollywood Cafe, up on the 2nd floor (and you had to walk up), where you could eat the Teppanyaki on a sizzling hot metal slab that was the rage at the time and listen to live music.  The first time I ever went, I saw Liu Chia-ch’ang.  At the time, I had no idea who he was.  I couldn’t at the time imagine that in the Taiwan of that period, there would be anyone in the arts the caliber of the Taiwanese decathlete champion and Olympic medalist, C K Yang,   But I think Master Liu was precisely that.

Taiwanese music back then was, shall we say, simple.  People were more interested in building businesses and making money than in devoting time to the arts.  But there, at this little supper club, was a string trio backing a singer with a world-class voice.  Naturally, I was excited.  I purchased as many cassettes as I could lay my hands on.  This song, My Home, is the first Chinese pop song I ever learned. When I came to perform in Shanghai a decade later, this is the song I sang for my Master instructor and dear friend, Shi Hong-e, the great operatic impressario, may he rest in peace.  He loved it and I hope you do as well.

Hong Jung-hung — Hoeng Roeng-hoeng
Ch’i Ch’in — Chee Chin
Luo Ta-You — Luaw Da Yo
Ouyang Fei-fei — O-yang Fay Fay
Cai Ch’in — Tseye (ts + eye) Chin
Liu Chia-ch’ang — Lyo Jya-chang

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