Red Headed Stranger -Willie Magic

From time to time, I think of “Bach Minuet in G ” wrapped in a memory of a night long ago when my (then) six month old daughter, Miley, was snoring away in her homely crib as Red Headed Stranger continued on loop.  I fell asleep somewhere along the way, and when my A.M. alarm clock went off the next morning, my son Christian was still asleep alongside me.  Miley was already awake and fully attentive at 6AM (like she still is to this day) and ready for her day.

For this divorced father (who had recently been granted custody of his young children), it had become a ritual to turn the lights down, adjust the volume and play Red Headed Stranger.  Instant remedy for getting the kids to bed.

I had the record for quite a while, but never really discovered the genius of it until this period in my life. I was petrified and lost in being a single parent, but Willie came to the rescue. Miley was having a hard time going to sleep and one night I put in Red Headed Stranger. Magic.

Red Headed Stranger is a story of fugitive on the run from the law after killing his wife and lover. Some of the songs on the 1975 Classic album are cuts from older standards such as Fred Rose’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” or Wolfe Gilbert’s “Down Yonder.” It includes the recurring theme “Time of the Preacher” which really ties the whole album/story in. Willie had loosely based the concept of the album from Tale of a Red Headed Stranger which was a radio show in which he was the host.

Red Headed Stranger was the first for Columbia Records where he was granted complete creative control. When he first submitted it, Columbia thought it was just a demo. But since Willie had the control, no other word was said. Inside the sleeve of it all is a comic book that was morphed into a movie in 1976.

The single “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” (Rolling Stone called the song the heartbeat of Red Headed Stranger) gave Willie his first ever Number One hit. The record would spawn off many celebrated things …including making one little girl go to sleep and have peace at night.

 

 Jason and his daughter Miley when she was 3 yrs old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About a year ago, Miley (who is now seven years old) came across the album.    “Daddy, is that the music you used to play for me when I was just a little baby? ” she asked me.

She still remembers being a six month old listening to one of the greatest albums of all time. How cool is that?

 

  Miley now – 7 years old

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a great clip of “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” from 1975

 

 

~ Jason Robinson

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Jason Wallace Robinson hails from Spartanburg, South Carolina. He’s a writer, storyteller, philosopher, single father raising two children, music lover, dreamer, joker. He writes to speak for the Common Man. He enjoys football and driving around in his ’96 Chevy Lumina adorned with an American Flag and decorative bird offerings.

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