♫ Reuben James ♫

It has been suggested by a few that I make a week-long tribute to the late Kenny Rogers.  I hadn’t thought of it … well, I had thought of it, but a number of readers are not fans of Kenny, so I was about to discard the idea, but then I had so many people telling me their faves, and commenting on how Kenny and his music would be sorely missed (we still have his music, folks … it is his legacy to us), that I had to reconsider.

Our friend rawgod has now requested … or rather hinted at … this song twice now, and I feel badly that I hadn’t played it before.  I like the song, though it isn’t one of my favourites, but it highlights that gorgeous, sensual voice of Mr. Rogers (Kenny, not Fred), so for that, I love it.

Typically, I research and report the backstory and history of the song, but quite frankly I could find almost nothing about this song, and since what little I did find was conflicting, I have no history to report.  Rg … if you know of any, please enlighten us?  In lieu of a backstory, I share with you first, the tribute by Kenny’s long-time friend and sometimes musical partner, Dolly Parton, and some pictures of Kenny “through the years”.

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“Well, I couldn’t believe it this morning when I got up, turned on the TV checking to see what the coronavirus was doing, and they told me that my friend and singing partner Kenny Rogers had passed away. You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend.

And I know that we all know Kenny is in a better place than we are today but I’m for sure he’s going to be talking to God sometime today, if ain’t already, and he’s going to be asking him to spread some light on this darkness going on here. But I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart’s broken. A big ol’ chunk of it has gone with him today and I think that I can speak for all his family, his friends and fans, when I say that I will always love him.”

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Reuben James
Kenny Rogers

Reuben James
In my song you live again
And the phrases that I rhyme
Are just the footsteps out of time
From the time when I knew you, Reuben James

Reuben James
All the folks around Madison County cussed your name
You’re just a no-account, sharecropping colored man
Who would steal anything he can
And everybody laid the blame on Reuben James

Reuben James, for you still walk the furrowed field of my mind
Faded shirt, the weathered brow
The calloused hands upon the plow
I loved you then and I love you now, Reuben James

Flora Grey
The gossip of Madison County died with child
And although your skin was black
You were the one that didn’t turn your back
On the hungry white child with no name, Reuben James

Reuben James
With your mind on my soul and a Bible in your right hand
You said “turn the other cheek
A-there’s a better world a-waiting for the meek”
In my mind these words remain from Reuben James

Reuben James, you still walk the furrowed field of my mind
The faded shirt, the weathered brow
The calloused hands upon the plow
I loved you then and I love you now, Reuben James

Reuben Jame
One dark, cloudy day they brought you from the field
Until your lonely pinebox came
Just a preacher and me in the rain
Just to sing one last refrain for Reuben James

Reuben James, you still walk the furrowed field of my mind
The faded shirt, the weathered brow
The calloused hands upon the plow
I loved you then and I love you now, Reuben James

Reuben James, you still walk the furrowed field of my mind
The faded shirt, the weathered brow
The calloused hands upon the plow
I loved you then and I love you now, Reuben James

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Alex Harvey / Barry Etris
Reuben James lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

19 thoughts on “♫ Reuben James ♫

  1. Late last night I was listening to the 2007 CD that contains both the 1977 album “Kenny Rogers” and the 1979 album “Kenny”. I so enjoyed two songs that I had not thought about in a long time : “You Decorated My Life” and “You Turn the Light On”. I must admit that Reuben James is not a favorite, but I could have listened to Kenny sing the alphabet and loved it! I am so looking forward to this week’s tribute to Kenny Rogers! Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you there … he could sing the dictionary or the alphabet and his gorgeous voice would carry me away to … someplace else. And, if I got to look at him too … an added bonus!!! The beard, the eyes, the … grin. Be still m’heart! And yes, my friend, there will be a week-long tribute! How could i not?

      Like

  2. No, this one I have no backstory for. But for me as a teenager, I could only wish my father had died, and I had someone like Reuben James to bring me up. And I knew there were a lot of other kids like me. Where I lived, most kids were physically and mentally abused, and many friendships were formed around hating fathers, mothers, or both. This song always made us feel good.

    Like

  3. Dolly’s words are so precious! Like you, this isn’t one of my favorites of his, but I still like it, so thanks for another song, and you can play as many of his songs as you wish!
    One of my favorites is “Lady” ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There was a ship called the USS Reuben James, which was the first American ship to be sunk by a German submarine in World War II. Woody Guthrie wrote a song about it, “The Sinking of the Rueben James”.

    Liked by 1 person

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