Feel like we’re losing our heroes too fast and without enough recognition of these great artists who have meant so much to us through our lifetimes?
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DON WILLIAMS was Rock and Roll before Country, made top song Time with Poco Seco Singers
JERRY LEWIS, NOT Jerry Lee Lewis, Legendary Comedian/Actor/Telethon Host Passes at 91
Tributes to Jerry Lewis (not Jerry LEE Lewis who is still alive, despite some news reports that mixed the two artists)
GLEN CAMPBELL WENT FROM TOP SESSION MUSICIAN TO CROSS-OVER COUNTRY-ROCK, FILM and TV STAR
Dick Contino at Milwaukee Accordian Fest, 1992We just learned that our favorite accordian player, Dick Contino, passed away early this year. Just as we prepared to go to the annual accordian fest at Cotati, CA we got the news. We were fortunate to be able to see Dick Contino perform and sing many times at the annual festival. Though in his later years, Contino still projected a boyish, strong presence as he did his famous bellows shake while performing signature songs such as ‘Quando, Quando’ and ‘Lady of Spain’ and especially his patriotic medley. Though Contino appeared to have slowed in recent years and had difficulty walking it was always great to see Contino, who would come alive on stage, performing much as he did in earlier years. With his new young wife/girlfriend, he still had great charisma which was made Contino responsible more than any other performer in bringing the accordion to great prominence in the 1950s and 1960s ‘golden era.’ He may not have been the most talented but he had showman qualities that appealed to the public, just as Cory P describes in his tribute below. Contino was at the Festival as recently as 2014. The Cotati Fest will never be the same again without the great Contino gracing the stage. According to the Italian Accordian Association, Dick Contino was responsible , single-handedly, for increasing the popularity of the Accordian by 60-80% throughout the world. Watching and listening at the Cotati Accordian Fest this past weekend, I couldn’t help but think of Contino, often, and how his presence is already missed as the younger ‘squeeze box’ folks now taking up the instrument somehow are missing the charisma and, yes, talent, Contino and his fellow showmen of his era no longer with us. Floren, Gallarini, etc. Perhaps Contino was the last great one from another era whose presence , or lack thereof, will have a negative effect on the future of the accordian in America. MORE at OldiesCountry.com