Kenny Rogers & the First Edition
The New Christy Minstrels, a mid-sixties folk group that helped launch the careers of such notables as Gene Clark (The Byrds) and Kim Carnes (“You Are a Part of Me”), also helped launch the careers of Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle. After a short stint with the Minstrels, Rogers and fellow members Mike Settle, Terry Williams, and Thelma Camacho left the group. They formed The First Edition in 1967 (later renamed "Kenny Rogers and The First Edition").
Yes, that Kenny Rogers. The Gambler. But before he was the Gambler, Kenny was a long hair with an earring and pink sunglasses. Kenny played bass and shared lead vocal duties with guitar player Terry Williams. The rest of the band was rounded out by Mike Settle on guitar and backing vocals with Mickey Jones playing the drums. When you have a chance, look up Mickey Jones. He went on to have a long career as a character actor who you will likely recognize. The operatically trained Thelma Camacho had a stint with the band as a singer before being replaced by Mary Arnold. So this was the First Edition, a rock band that was inspired by rock, country, some funky soul and psychedelia.
Presented here, by Maplewood Records, for the first time ever is a live album that was recorded over three nights at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1972. The lineup for the First Edition during this recording included newcomers Gene Lorenzo on Hammond organ and Jimmy Hassell on guitar/backing vocals replacing the departed Mike Settle.
The record was produced by Jim Callon, founding member of the Glass Family, in the year after the concert recordings. It was cut from several nights and meant to showcase the band’s live acumen, which was a tight hard rocking machine. It delivers. Long buried in Jim’s garage, you will hear hot versions of such notable numbers as King of Rock n’ Roll, Tell It All, Take This Hammer, and their biggest hit Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
When listening to this record, it’s easy to imagine yourself in a smoky nightclub in the Las Vegas Hilton, don’t you think? Maybe having a cocktail with your old lady after an afternoon of hitting the tables? Give it a listen and see where it takes you.
First Pressing Limited to 500 copies // Second Pressing Limited to 500 copies