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Milton Sim Newbury, Jr. , (known as Mickey Newbury , Houston, Texas, May 19, 1940-Springfield, Oregon, September 29, 2002) he was an American songwriter and singer.
His parents, Mamie and Milton Newbury, gave him a brother, Jerry, of whom he was very close throughout his life. Milton, was a child with a fragile and precarious state of health that persecuted him all his life: at the age of 6 years he suffers from a whooping cough and an encephalitis two years later, he breaks his back at 23, is admitted in the hospital due to a pneumonia at 35 years of which he will continue to suffer sequelae until he dies of pulmonary fibrosis aggravated by a tachycardia.
As a teenager, even at school, he decided to write songs, locking himself in his room to write poetry, and learn to play the guitar. In the mid-1950s, Mickey Newbury is the lead tenor singer in a doo-wop group, The Embers, a quartet of mitigated success, under contract in 1956 with Mercury Records, performing their own songs. The group acted as backup for Sam Cooke or Johnny Cash; On the other hand, from time to time, Mickey will meet with the group The Coasters. Although he always tried to make his music, his main source of income, acting in clubs, at the age of 19 he put aside his hopes of making a musical career by enrolling in the American air force established in England. p>
After three years in the army (1959-1963), he resigned his military career, after the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, to work on a shrimp fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico, for almost three months. Back on the ground, Milton manages to be hired as an air traffic controller, and sings with his guitar at night in cafes and clubs: there are what he recognizes as his first steps towards what would become his profession . He sleeps in his car at that time, traveling throughout the Southern United States. When moving to Nashville, he finds that there is tolerance for all genres of music; he has the opportunity to sign with Acuff-Rose Music, thanks to a friend from the scene, and his career is definitely underway.
Disappointed by the methods of the producer of his first album, Felton Jarvis, will be one of the first to rebel against the conventions of the dominant musical society in Nashville. Then he signs a contract with a clause that mentions that the choice of the producer would be a personal choice of his, breaking his contract with the RCA company at the same time.
Act in the Wha Cafe? in February of 1961, and then in the Night Owl in New York and the Bitter End in Los Angeles, with Kris Kristofferson, John Phillips and David Steinberg. Meet Wayne Moss, and record in his garage converted into a recording studio three revolutionary albums in the musical world of the time (his methods inspired Waylon Jennings in his time or even Paul McCartney, decades later). He is then one of the most creative musicians in Nashville, and is also considered the pioneer of the outlaw movement, from 1966 to 1970, with Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard.
Mickey convinces Roger Miller to retrieve and record Me and Bobby McGee, the legendary theme that was at the origin of the recognition of Kris Kristofferson in the world of music. It is also the origin of the arrivals of Townes Van Zandt in 1968 and Guy Clark to Nashville, where they will be authors of songs (“singer-songwriters”): this is the first appearance of the word “singer-songwriter” in the history of music: they are the authors-composers-performers, the first singers to gain recognition thanks to themselves. Townes composes to him the music of two subjects, that appeared in the album Harlequin Melodies. The music, on which he wrote the lyrics of the songs The Queen and Mister, Can not You See. At that time he played with Joan Baez, at the 8th Big Sur Festival in 1971. This year he published his most famous song An American Trilogy, a medley of three traditional songs, which was later covered by many artists. The traditional themes were the following:
- All My Trials, a song written by a slave in Jamaica.
- Glory, whose original title is the Battle Anthem of the Republic, written in 1861 by a South American American, Julia Ward Howe.
- Dixieland, written in 1859 by a North American American, Dan Emmett for a singing show.
In 1974 he went to live on the banks of the McKenzie River in the State of Oregon with his wife Susan and their young son, Chris (who was followed by three other children). Mickey recorded several albums in the decade for the label Elektra (label of the Doors, the Stooges, of the Love group, Fred Neil, and even the young Tom Waits). He also records for ABC / Hickory. All their albums are critically acclaimed, but not necessarily profitable for sales.
In 1980 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Nashville composers. He will spend the first half of the 1980s far enough away from the music industry and then return to the stage, with great success, before dying at age 62, after a long battle against pulmonary fibrosis. It is part of the influences of important authors, among them Bob Dylan: The song If You See Her (Say Hello) is a title inspired by the song If You See Her (and She Mentions My Name); Tom Waits, another artist from Elektra, and Paul McCartney, whose first notes of the song Dance Tonight are a copy of the intro. from the song A Weed is a Weed, etc.
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