Tag Archives: Ricochet

In Memoriam: Kevin Sharp, 1970-2014

Kevin SharpNineties country star Kevin Sharp has passed away at the age of 43 from complications relating to cancer.

Sharp had major success with his debut album, Measure of a Man, which spawned three big hits: “Nobody Knows”, a Tony Rich Project cover that spent four weeks at #1, and two additional top five follow-up singles, “If You Love Somebody” and “She’s Sure Taking it Well.”

Sharp’s inspirational biography made his early success especially impressive. He suffered from a rare form of bone cancer that was so dire that he received a Make-a-Wish grant that introduced him to record producer David Foster.  After Sharp’s cancer went into remission, they remained in contact and Foster helped Sharp secure a contract with Asylum Records.

Sharp’s success came during a transitional time in country music, before one-hit wonders became far more common but while one-album wonders were becoming prominent.  Like Lari White, Paul Brandt, Michael Peterson, Deana Carter, and Ricochet, Sharp seemed to have garnered a foothold at radio, scoring several hits off a breakthrough album.

But like those other artists, radio completely ignored the follow-up project, Love is, in 1998.   Despite his first set going gold, he parted ways with his label after the second collection wasn’t a success.  A few years earlier, and radio would’ve probably played more of his second album. A few years later, and the burgeoning independent label scene and digital distribution methods might have made it easier for his career to maintain momentum.

Still, he found great success on the road in the new century, this time as an inspirational speaker, and he released an independent album in 2005, appropriately titled, Make a Wish.   By this time, he was a spokesperson for the organization that once introduced him to Foster.  His 2004 memoir’s title, Tragedy is a Gift, speaks to the positivity that defined Sharp’s work and made him such a wonderful addition to the country music scene in the latter half of the nineties.

 

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Discussion: Legacy Recordings

Tonight, I turn over our discussion to one of our readers.    He suggested I write about this topic myself, but his suggestions were already far better than anything that I would have come up with.   Thankfully, he was willing to share them with all of you!

Guest Post by Country Universe reader Jim Bagley:

legacyAbout a month ago, I discovered a website http://feedback.legacyrecordings.com/ where folks can request reissues/retrospectives of artists who are part of the Sony/BMG Catalog.  When you sign up, you are also given 10 votes to show which suggested product you would like to see reissued.  Except for Johnny Cash, the suggested product has been decidedly uncountry and I think that the readership at Country Universe could change that for the better.

Legacy does indeed review the board and some of the suggestions – a Lou Rawls retrospective for instance – have then been subsequently released.

Here are the four listings that I have recently added:

Tammy Wynette two-discs of solo hits

The Essential Tammy Wynette – with only 14 tracks – was probably the worst essential set to date. Even the Tammy three disc set Tears of Fire left off many of her 40-plus top ten solo hits. Please release a two-disc set set of Tammy’s solo hits, including all top ten efforts. Many like “The Wonders You Perform,” “Reach Out Your Hand,” and “(You Make Me Want To Be) A Mother” are always left off Tammy sets. I would include the David Houston and Mark Gray hit collaborations, but please leave off the George Jones duets which have been reissued to death (and take up valuable room on other Tammy retrospectives).

Dolly Parton full career box set (4-5 discs)

Sony-BMG has control of nearly all of Dolly’s career, so why hasn’t a box set been done on her? From the mid-60s Monument singles (Dumb Blonde, Something Fishy), through her fascinating late ’60s RCA work Just Because I’m A Woman, Daddy Come and Get Me), the hit RCA years (Joshua through Think About Love), the late ’80s, early ’90s Columbia stint (Yellow Roses, Rockin’ Years), her collaboration with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette, and finally, the turn of the century bluegrass gems on Sugar Hill. It would take 100-125 tracks to get it right, but Dolly deserves this deluxe treatment.

bobby-bareBobby Bare three disc career box set

Bobby Bare charted 60 singles for RCA and Columbia from 1962 through 1983. It would be nice to have a box set which captured all of these hits (the past Columbia retrospectives are particularly incomplete), plus his first hit “All-American Boy” and his six early-’70s singles for Mercury. Bobby deserves it!

Connie Smith two-disc set of all of her hits

Connie Smith charted 48 singles between 1964 and 1985. All of them were for labels that are now under the Sony-BMG umbrella (RCA, Columbia, Monument, Epic). Please put together one package of ALL of her hits that does justice to Connie’s legacy.

Anyone who recorded for Columbia, Epic, Monument, RCA, or Arista is eligible for reissue.  I suggested vintage artists for whom I wanted larger repackaging.  But it would also be great to see an Alan Jackson box set; 20-track best-of sets for Pam Tillis, Collin Raye, and Lorrie Morgan; 16 Biggest Hits on BlackHawk, Doug Stone, and Ty Herndon, and even 10-track Super Hits for Ricochet and Wade Hayes.   Country Universe readers have a wealth of knowledge and music favorites, and it would be great to see their “wish lists” and votes represented on the site.

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Ricochet, “I Had to Be Me”

Ricochet returns to the radiowaves with “I Had to Be Me”, a song about stubborn resistance and man’s unwillingness to swallow his pride to salvage a relationship.  Although the band has experienced changes in their lineup, lead singer Heath Wright is still at the helm, and he still sounds fairly capable.

The production is fairly lifeless, though, and the lyric never quite develops beyond the concept that the man needed to make changes and failed.  The listener is unsure what drove the woman away in the first place, but the whole point of the song is to reach the chorus, and most importantly, the hook.

An innocuous attempt at renewed radio success.

Grade: C

Listen: I Had to Be Me

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