Thursday, September 16, 2021

Kenny Rogers and The First Edition - The Ballad of Calico (1972)


Kenny Rogers and The First Edition - The Ballad of Calico (1972)


Tracklist front / back album covers

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Side one

"Sunrise Overture"

"Calico Silver"

"Write Me Down (Don't Forget My Name)"

"The Way It Used to be"

"Madame De Lil and Diabolical Bill"


Side two

"School Teacher"

"Road Agent"

"Sally Grey's Epitaph"

"Dorsey, the Mail-Carrying Dog"


Side three

"Harbor for My Soul"

"Calico Saturday Night"

"Trigger Happy Kid"

"Vachel Carling's Rubilator"


Side four

"Empty Handed Compadres"

"One Lonely Room"

"Rockin' Chair Theme"

"Old Mojave Highway"

"Man Came up from Town"

"Calico Silver (reprise)"




Kenny Rogers and The First Edition Band Members / Musicians

Dann Rogers, Gloria Vassy, Kenny Rogers, Kin Vassy, Larry Cansler, Mary Arnold, Michael Murphey, Mickey Jones, Terry Williams - vocals

Terry Williams - lead guitar

Kin Vassy, Michael Murphey - rhythm guitar

Kenny Rogers - bass guitar, arrangements

Larry Cansler - piano, harpsichord, organ, orchestrations, conductor

Mickey Jones - drums

John Hartford - fiddle

Doyle Grisham - pedal steel


Claude Hill, Don Sciarrotta - engineer

Terry Williams - assistant producer

Bill Matthews - photography




The Ballad of Calico is the 8th studio album by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition and released as Reprise Records 6476. It reached No. 118 on the albums chart and produced one single, "School Teacher", which reached No. 91. The double album was released in February 1972. The album is a country-rock concept album about the real-life town of Calico, California. The entire double album was written by Michael Murphey and Larry Cansler and the songs tell the stories of individuals who lived in the town.

The various members, not just Rogers, took lead vocals on the different songs, giving the album the sound of it coming from the characters themselves. A 15-page booklet with the album includes pictures of the group in period costumes, pictures of the town, and the lyrics written in long-hand with explanations by Murphey about the origins of the individual songs. As of March, 2016, the album remains out of print, though several songs from the album have been released on compilation LPs and CDs.

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