Ballads In Otherness… Lift Off

Somehow, summer’s been hijacked by one month over the last few generations.  It’s the beginning of August and time to go back to school?!?  Every trace of summer fun was put on sale three weeks ago and banished from the shelves to make way for back to school stuff….notebooks, backpacks, pencils and crayons and markers and rulers….dormitory rugs, microwave ovens, small fridges, cheap full length mirrors, bed risers.  I don’t want to be one of those ‘back in my day’ guys, but back in my day… school started the day after Labor Day and it was that way for many generations before that.  Completely depressing for someone like me who wrings every last ounce out of the summer season.  I’m still hanging onto it in November.  I’m not hard to miss… I’m the one shivering in the cold, long after the clocks ‘fall back’, in shorts, grilling hamburgers on the Weber with temps so low the burgers get cold in the few steps from the grill to the kitchen.  It really doesn’t matter what’s on the shop shelves, it’s still an endless summer for me and just to prove the point, we’re taking our summer holiday in OCTOBER this year.  

What can I tell you about?  It’s been a slow period for me and I like that just fine.  Really enjoying being home this year cooking, reading, writing, listening to music, practising, etc.  I’ve begun recording a new album and have started writing the one after that.  At my pace that should keep me busy ’til 2022 at least.

On the subject of records, break out the champagne, Ballads In Otherness is available at last.  There is something about holding that first copy with the artwork, shrink wrapped, in hand that makes it official, like giving birth.  That’s probably stretching it a little.  Nonetheless, I’m very pleased with this new one and hope you’ll enjoy it as well.  If you don’t then at least you’ll like the liner notes that my friend Neil Diamond wrote… not a bad stamp of approval.  

Another birthday has passed painlessly.  I don’t know how in blazes 66 years has blown by and dumped me on the doorstep of 67 but here I am.  I’m fortunate to be knocking around still bothering people and feeling good, no different than 30, 40 years ago.  The only concession I make to my age is the treadmill at the gym.  It always insists that I enter my weight and age.  The weight comes up automatically at 150… a little high but close enough.  The age comes up as 30.  Now I stand there for an eternity with my finger depressing the ‘advance’ button ’til it climbs to the upper reaches of the stratosphere mercifully stopping at 67, a work out in itself.  Long ago I adopted the attitude that I and the cockroaches will inherit the earth.  I’m sticking with that.

On a sad note, my friend Rick Allen died in the early hours of July 4th.  He was one of those fellows who was whip smart, had great insight into whatever he was talking about, wicked sense of humour and impeccable taste in movies, music, food and booze.  Rick knew Dizzy Gillespie and that in itself speaks volumes.  Rick knew everybody.  He was a wonderful singer and musician, a long-time all-night DJ with a sure-fire grasp of everything cool and good.  In the old days he wrote for Creem Magazine and over the last decade did the same for Vintage Guitar Magazine.  He kindly wrote my biography that graces this website and appears in Mark Knopfler’s tour programs and penned the liner notes to my record For The Newly Blue.  He was the kind of guy who’d send you books that he thought you should read and tequila he thought you should drink.  I’d mentioned once that I’d been cooking Mexican food and a few days later a packet of Epazote leaves arrived in our mailbox.  When my wife wasn’t feeling well, English biscuits were sent as the “sympathy” to accompany her tea.  Rick Allen was that kind of guy and I miss him already.

All right, I’ll post something again in Autumn but for now I wanted to let you know Ballads In Otherness is launched and available.  Buy early and buy often.

So long,



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Richard Bennett