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-   -   LIGHTFOOT-KRISTOFFERSON-HAWKINS (& Willie) record a tune!it's BOBBY MCGEE!!! (http://www.corfid.com/vbb//showthread.php?t=28187)

Dan O'Malley 08-22-2016 02:18 PM

i meant to say hopefully someone can put it on youtube!

charlene 08-22-2016 02:46 PM


The story behind the historic recording of Me And Bobby McGee at Hawkstone Manor
Ryan Weber describes how music legends Kristofferson, Hawkins, Lightfoot, and Nelson came together for a special recording in May, now available on iTunes

As musically gifted as they are in their own right, siblings Ryan and Sam Weber have always been wide-eyed awestruck by the talent of those who came before.

After all, it was their respect for, and adulation of, legendary blues and rock ‘n’ roll musicians of decades past that brought the Maryland natives to these parts some 17 years ago.

There are now a thousand versions of the story but, basically, the teenaged boys rapped on the front door of Ronnie Hawkins’ Stoney Lake home, Hawkstone Manor, and said “Teach us.” That Hawkins did — in exchange for some help with his sprawling property.

Ryan and Sam were eager sponges, soaking in everything the one-of-a-kind rockabilly trailblazer had to offer. They eventually departed to make their own mark and that they indeed did, while remaining forever appreciative that Hawkins took the time to school them on music, performing, and the ins and outs of a business that is more often cruel than not.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” enthuses Ryan who, with Sam, fronts The Weber Brothers band. The duo has released an impressive 10 independent CDs over a 15-year period, the latest being 2014’s We, and were the subject of Before We Arrive, the documentary by local filmmakers Rob Viscardis and Jeremy Blair Kelly released earlier this year.

“Any time it gets hard or you’ve just spent nine hours in the Suburban, we’re able to remember the times and amazing opportunities we’ve had that other people don’t get. We’ve never taken that for granted.”

So when the 81-year-old Hawkins called the Webers last year and said there was a chance they could be involved in a recording session with Gordon Lightfoot, 77, their response was “Just let us know when.” That led to the recording of a Christmas song as well as Lightfoot’s 1970 song “The Pony Man”.

As surreal as that experience was for Ryan and Sam, the best was yet to come — in the form of a subsequent Hawkstone Manor recording of “Me And Bobby McGee” featuring not only Hawkins and Lightfoot but the song’s writer, Kris Kristofferson, 80, and (later in the process) Willie Nelson, 83.

Now available as a video on iTunes, the “somewhat of a rocking version” of the classic 1969 song — it was the late Janis Joplin’s only #1 single — has Ryan “really excited for people to hear it.”

According to Ryan, Hawkins met up with his friend Kristofferson in Florida earlier this year and played the recordings done with Lightfoot.

“Me and Bobby McGee” – The Hawkstone Manor version
Vocals: Ronnie Hawkins, Kris Kristofferson, Gordon Lightfoot, Willie Nelson
Acoustic high-tune guitar: James McKenty
Drums: Steve Kendry
Acoustic, electric, and slide guitars: Sam Weber
Bass, piano, percussion: Ryan Weber
Additional background vocals: Robin Hawkins, Leah Hawkins, Ryan Weber, Sam Weber, James McKenty, Travis Good, Greg Keelor
Produced by: James McKenty and Robin Hawkins
Recorded by: James McKenty
Videography by: Lisa Kristofferson
Editing by: Jon Grimson

Apparently, Kristofferson had been anxious to reconnect with longtime friends such as Hawkins and Lightfoot following the death of his friend Merle Haggard in early April. (Later, when Kristofferson was staying at Hawkstone Manor, Sam Weber had a chance to play Kristofferson’s guitar. When he returned it to its case, he saw a set list Kristofferson had written for a recent concert appearance with Haggard — a quiet but powerful tribute to his friend.)

Hawkins’ Florida meeting with Kristofferson set the wheels in motion for what was to follow.

“Ronnie got back and called,” Ryan recalls. “He said, ‘I don’t know if this is going to happen, baby, but there’s a chance we’ll be recording with Kristofferson … he wants to do Me And Bobby McGee'”.

Both Ryan and Sam were excited, but cautious.

“In this business, you believe things only when they come together — because a lot of things can fall through, especially with guys of this magnitude.”

Things did indeed “come together” in early May, starting with Hawkins getting together with Ryan and Sam as well as Hawkins’ son Robin (who plays regularly at The Dobro in Peterborough) and producer/engineer James McKenty.

With so many versions of “Me And Bobby McGee” having been recorded over the past 45 years or so, the goal was simple but challenging: record a unique version of the song.

“It’s going to be special because it has Ronnie and Kris on it, but can we do something else with it?” Ryan says, explaining their thought process.

“James started to just strum straight on his acoustic and that had a good sound. I sort of fell in on bass, then Sam came in, and we had some ideas. Ronnie really liked the feel. He said, ‘Shit, babies, that’s one of the best versions I’ve ever heard.'”

“We moved the whole operation over to Ronnie’s house the day before Kris got there. We laid it down with drummer Steve Kendry (Spoons) and it just started to sound great.”

“Ronnie always get nervous until he does something. We hit record and on the first take, it was perfect. He nailed it. The next day, Kristofferson came, listened to it and really liked the arrangement. He was really into it, really jazzed. He recorded his vocal part and it was the same kind of thing. Straight away he was just on. I was like ‘Wow, how can this thing get any better?'”

Enter Gordon Lightfoot, who arrived at Hawkins’ home the next day.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone who listens more intently to a recording,” says Ryan.

“Gordon could have said ‘It’s good but I don’t need to be on this.’ He doesn’t say anything, he’s totally absorbed listening to it. Well, he loved it. He loved Ronnie’s verse, he loved Kris’ verse. He was ready to then go and do his. As soon as he started, it was like ‘Oh my God, this is true greatness we’re getting down here.'”

“There was a point where I was sitting with my eyes closed listening to it and the emotion of it was overwhelming. I felt like I was going to cry or something. I was sitting next to Kristofferson and I looked over and he was crying, tears streaming down. That was a pretty special moment.”

With the vocal tracks of the three legendary singers laid down, McKenty and the Weber brothers went to work mixing the recording.

“There was an idea to try some harmonies on it, so we tried but it just wasn’t getting it. I said maybe if it’s Bob Dylan or Willie Nelson, it makes sense. Lo and behold, Kris was going on tour with Willie. Once James found that out, he had this idea to try and do it … he was going to stop at nothing if there was any possibility. He somehow got in contact with Willie’s management through Kris’ wife and set up a recording on Willie’s bus in Chicago. James drove down there and got that done.”

As over-the-top thrilled as Ryan is with the end result — “Everybody who was a part of it really knocked it out of the park” — he remains most moved by what he saw.

“Just witnessing how close they are and how excited they still get for recording, that really blew me away,” says Ryan.

“They still get up like they’re school kids. There’s that much excitement. Maybe it’s the strength of the track itself, but it’s in them and that’s a good sign for us: that these guys can still get this up for it.”

“Wanda (Hawkins’ wife) told Kris to go down to the cottages (on Hawkstone Manor’s shoreline). Because Gordon had written Sundown there, maybe Kris would write a tune. He looked at her and said, ‘Well, Gordon was in his prime at the time; I don’t think that would be quite fair.'”

part 2-next post

charlene 08-22-2016 02:46 PM

“Another time, Kris said, ‘Man, can you believe it? We were really there during just the most amazing time, when the best songs were being written, the best movies were coming out, just an amazing time.’ Ronnie says, ‘I know, baby, shoot, I got to witness it’ and Kris says, ‘You didn’t witness it, you ran it.’ Just seeing the way Kris and Gordon really hold Ronnie in such high regard was pretty special.”

It’s not lost on Ryan that with the singers’ advanced ages, an opportunity like this may not come around again.

These are true greats. I'm hoping that one more time, everyone can hear that and go, 'OK, this is how you're supposed to do it.' I'm really excited for people to hear it.

As for the song itself, which relates the story of two drifters (the narrator and his girlfriend Bobby McGee) who hitched a ride from a truck driver and sang as they drove through the American south before parting ways in California, Ryan explains it was the perfect catalyst for this project.

“The best songs evoke a feeling and go right to the emotion; you feel good, you feel sad, whatever emotion they go for, they really nail it,” he says.

“It’s one of those tunes that does that right off the bat. Of course, it has great lyrics and, of course, it’s a great story, but the overall feel, as soon as you hear the first word of it, you’re in. It grabs you.”

So enthused is Ryan for this recording that he thinks it has serious Grammy Award potential.

“I know there’s a category for best collaboration,” he says. “I don’t know how you can find a better collaboration than those four guys.”

“And this recording is a historical one because, as far as I know, there has never been a Willie Nelson and Gordon Lightfoot recording, or Willie Nelson and Ronnie Hawkins recording together, or a Gordon and Ronnie recording for that matter. It’s truly a historical recording — and The Weber Brothers are on there too.”

This recording is a historical one because, as far as I know, there has never been a Willie Nelson and Gordon Lightfoot recording, or Willie Nelson and Ronnie Hawkins recording together, or a Gordon and Ronnie recording for that matter.

Ahead for The Weber Brothers is work on a new CD with their band — Emily Burgess (guitar), Rico Browne (keyboards/guitar/percussion), Marcus Browne (drums) and Prufrock Shadowrunner (percussion/turntables) — as well as “something really cool coming out around Christmas.”

In the meantime, reflecting on the “Me And Bobby McGee” recording experience has Ryan him more convinced than ever of one undeniable truth.

“If any one of those guys wanted us to do anything, I would be into it,” he says. “They’ve all given so much.”

“It’s always going to be an opportunity, even just to hang out with them. Anytime Ronnie asks, I’m there.”

About “Me And Bobby McGee”
Written by Kris Kristofferson and songwriter/producer Fred Foster; released in July 1969.
First recorded by Roger Miller and released in 1969.

Recorded most famously by the late Janis Joplin, her posthumously released version topping the U.S. singles chart in 1971.

Other notable recordings done by Gordon Lightfoot, Kris Kristofferson, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, The Grateful Dead, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Melissa Etheridge, Lee Ann Rimes, Ann Murray, and Pink … to name but a few.

In 2004, was ranked #148 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs All Time.

charlene 09-05-2016 07:03 PM


Dan O'Malley 09-06-2016 03:12 PM

Still wanna hear this! No sites will let me lol

charlene 09-06-2016 05:17 PM

you can join Itunes and for a couple of bucks you'll get it on your laptop/desk computer/other devices. I did it!

Dan O'Malley 09-06-2016 07:39 PM

Don't think I haven't tried! I've been on itunes for 15 years!!!! The point is that it isn't available to download in the the UK!!! I Would pay 20 bucks to hear it! Without an overseas address i'm unable to open an account that will allow me to play, preview OR download!!!! We are blacklisted Char!!!!!

Dan O'Malley 09-06-2016 07:44 PM

So frustrating!!! Anyway you could send it to me!??! By the way, i'm gonna be in Toronto
for Massey Hall!!!!!!

charlene 09-06-2016 09:36 PM


Originally Posted by Dan O'Malley (Post 189485)
So frustrating!!! Anyway you could send it to me!??! By the way, i'm gonna be in Toronto
for Massey Hall!!!!!!

Need tix?

Dan O'Malley 09-07-2016 02:02 PM

Was gonna get what I could when I get there! Paid for flight and hotel, but need to start saving now, pretty penniless at the moment lol

charlene 09-07-2016 05:01 PM

check your private messages here...

charlene 09-15-2016 06:46 PM


TUNE CAN BE HEARD AT ITUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/music-vi...ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Me and Bobby McGee version recorded in Peterborough by Kris Kristofferson, Gordon Lightfoot, Ronnie Hawkins being released this week

By Ed Arnold, Peterborough Examiner
Thursday, September 15, 2016 1:37:54 EDT PM

Fans of rockabilly, folk and country music are in for a special treat this week when four music legends release their new song, all generated from the Peterborough music scene.

Think about being a musician opening your new recording studio with the first song you get a chance to produce featuring the vocals of Kris Kristofferson, Gordon Lightfoot, Willie Nelson and Ronnie Hawkins. Then imagine they are going to sing one of the most popular songs Kristofferson ever wrote.

That's what Peterborough producer James McKenty was joyfully faced with this year when Kristofferson, Lightfoot and Ronnie Hawkins decided to get together to record a tune mixed in his Cordach Crescent studio.

But that wasn't all. McKenty also got country music star Willie Nelson involved.

That's quite a role for a producer more than half their ages.

The four legends are singing Kristofferson's song Me and Bobby McGee to be released this week on iTunes. Most of it was recorded in Peterborough and on Stoney Lake, co- produced by McKenty and Ronnie's son, Robin Hawkins.

How the megahit makers got together is a tale needing to be told.

McKenty, one of the musical gems of the Peterborough community who has produced Canadian superstars Blue Rodeo, receiving a gold record for one of the band's latest records.

The 38-year-old has been performing, writing and involved in music for the last 16 years in Peterborough, once fronting the popular band The Spades but now doing more producing although he does play guitar in various bands and has jammed with some of the best including The Tragically Hip.

Robin Hawkins is a talented musician who has been rocking throughout North America for years.

The story starts at the last year's Havelock Jamboree where legendary songwriter, singer and musician Gordon Lightfoot was performing and his old friend Ronnie Hawkins, who lives on Stoney Lake, paid him a visit.

McKenty says the two of them were hanging out backstage, telling stories and longing to get back together to do a tune as a keepsake for their grandchildren. It was more than to have some fun with, says McKenty. They talked about doing an old Lightfoot song Pony Man.

"Initially they talked about doing it at a Hamilton studio but Ronnie learned I had just finished my studio," says McKenty. His studio looks like a garage on the outside but he, friends and neighbours built it beside his home from cement up.

Hawkins is also good friends with Sam and Ryan Weber of the super-talented musical act the Weber Brother,s who suggested McKenty's studio. The Webers made it happen bringing McKenty into the project.

"That was fantastic. I had just put the equipment in when really the phone rang and it was Ronnie wondering if they could do it here with Gordon and the Weber Brothers."

There was no hesitancy on his part.

The Webers came first to lay down some tracks with McKenty. Ronnie added some vocals.

On Sept. 22, 2015 Lightfoot showed up with Ronnie from Toronto. Ho hum, just another day on Cordach Crescent.

"We hadn't met before. He was a super person, there was no experience quite like it," McKenty said.

Lightfoot got right to work listening to what had already been recorded.

"He was very particular about tempo, phrasing and pitch. We played him what we had and I will always remember him saying to Ronnie "this is top shelf."

Lightfoot opened a briefcase with a pencil, erasure, sharpener, sheet music and metronome inside.

"I've never seen a musician do this. He sat and did pages of musical notation for the drum part, he wrote it all out."

Lightfoot and Hawkins were not alone. They had brought their wives, Kim Hasse and Wanda Hawkins.

"It was the sweetest day of recording ever. My wife Kelly made dinner and what was supposed to be an hour or so became an all day thing of music, stories, food and fun."

They were also laying down music and vocals for a Christmas song they were doing with The Band's legendary member Robbie Robertson.

"Gordon coached us and Ronnie on the singing. It was pretty sweet."

Lightfoot and Hawkins liked what they heard.

That wasn't the end.

"That was the start of it," says McKenty.

Ronnie spends some winter months in Florida where last winter Kristofferson came to visit him with his wife Lisa. Ronnie pulled out the tunes "by these Canadian players." Kristofferson liked what he heard and the two of them started talking about doing a song.

"It was all a fun thing, so Kris told Ronnie he would come to Stony" to visit him.

When McKenty heard that he and Robin Hawkins might be producing a song by them, "It was one of those, I'll believe it when I see it moments."

Then on May 2 of this year he got the phone call that Ronnie had decided they would do Kristofferson's megahit song Me and Bobby McGee.

"He wanted an up tempo version," remembers McKenty.

They brought in Sam and Ryan Weber, Steve Kendry on drums, with McKenty also on guitar, along with local legend Buzz Thompson, Robin Hawkins and his father Ronnie a week before the recording session to lay down a version of it and give a listen.

McKenty was fooling around with a high-pitched acoustic guitar that Ronnie and the others really liked so they decided to go with acoustic guitars, drums and stand up bass.

Hawkins did the vocal in one take.

"He was incredible. The next day Kris was flying in and wandered in to Ronnie's at midday."

His wife Lisa was there with a digital video camera to film it. No camera crew, just her.

"Kris was such a very nice man. He introduced himself to everyone. He was super nice, so was his wife Lisa," McKenty said. "We played the version for him that we had done with Ronnie. I was nervous, but I saw his cowboy boots were tapping to the beat so that was a good sign."

Kristofferson and Hawkins sat around laughing and swapping stories.

McKenty knew they needed Kristofferson on this song "but who would ask him?"

"I wandered over and asked if he wanted to sing a verse or so. He said sure and sang the whole thing."

part 2 in next post

charlene 09-15-2016 06:46 PM

After the night ended McKenty went home to do some mixing. Everyone wanted to hear it the next day including Lightfoot who was coming there with his wife to visit Ronnie and Wanda. McKenty called his friend Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo and Karl Lawson called Travis Good of the Sadies, to be there for this memorable moment in music.

Ronnie's daughter Leah and other son Ronnie Hawkins Jr., along with co-producer Robin, and Karl Lawson, a friend to all of them, and others gathered to hear the results.

When Lightfoot heard it he loved it.

"And I knew we had to have him on it so I asked if would sing a verse and he said 'sure, I'll take a crack at it'."

"He laid down the most perfect track, it was out of this world. He sings so softly, beautifully, no one does songs with that type of phrasing and pitch. He has a unique voice.

"He was very particular and kept coaching all of us so we started calling him The Teacher. I asked Kris if he wanted to take another crack at it after hearing Gordon and he did it far better than the day before. It was like he was performing and by that time there was a small audience there. He rose to the occasion.

"I had good takes of all of them and at the end everyone there joined in to the 'la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la' part of the song. Gordon kept wanting it better so we did at least 15 takes of this."

"There were moments when I was there just doing my job and then I'd look up and realize this wasn't a regular day at the office.

"Ryan and Sam are fantastic musicians and they added more instruments. Gordon had some suggestions for when I took it home to mix it."

Before this they had dinner, swapped stories and joined in a big jam session.

"The feeling was we didn't know what we were going to do with this song."

The next day McKenty was yearning to attend a Kristofferson concert and learned he was playing in June near Chicago in Aurora, Ill. with Willie Nelson. He, wife Kelly and young son Noah decided to go on a quick vacation so he bought some tickets to the concert.

He telephoned Kris's wife Lisa on the road with her husband and told her he was coming. He wondered aloud if Willie would do a verse or two of the song and sure enough he agreed.

After the concert McKenty had Willie on the Nelson bus recording the song with Lisa filming it.

"I played him what we had recorded. It was hot and I was sweating on the bus, not just because of the heat but here I was about to record Willie Nelson. I put the microphone on the kitchen table and after Willie heard the song he started singing.

"He leaned forward, sang the whole song and the harmony. I hadn't done an equipment check. He was incredible; his phrasing is unlike any others. He's like a jazz singer really. The whole thing, including setting up and tearing down of the equipment only took about 15 minutes."

McKenty took everything back to his studio for editing and mixing.

"I was tortured for a while. I had four of these great vocalists. I had to edit them chop some of their work out and that was torture."

He sent the finished product to Lisa who had it synched with her edited video done in Nashville. They were ready to roll it out.

It wasn't just another day at the office.

"It doesn't get any better than that," says McKenty.

He points out that without the Weber Brothers and Robin Hawkins the end product would not have been as good as it is. "It was a team effort all the way."

The video has been released on iTunes. The song is being released without fanfare or media releases.

It's just a few of the boys, music legends having some fun and hoping people might take a listen to a little project out of Peterborough.

Ed Arnold is a local writer who has been writing articles about Peterborough and its people for more than 44 years.

charlene 08-31-2021 08:27 PM


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