Tim Krekel 1950-2009: R.I.P.

Beloved
singer-songwriter dies on Wednesday from cancer.

 

By Rev. Keith A Gordon

 

Tim Krekel – singer, songwriter, and underrated guitarist –
passed away on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 from cancer in his Louisville, Kentucky
home. Krekel had been diagnosed with an abdominal tumor in March and subsequently
underwent surgery, returning home in early-April. He was expected to make a
full recovery, but his health took a turn for the worse over the past week.

 

Born and raised in Louisville
in 1950, Krekel first began playing the drums before picking up the guitar. By
high school, he was writing songs and performing in local bands, and during the
late-60s he was leading the popular Louisville
band Dusty. When two of Krekel’s friends, Steve Ferguson and Terry Adams, left
town to form N.R.B.Q. and scored a record contract, Krekel moved Dusty to New York City in search
of fame and fortune. After gigging around the big city for a while, Krekel and
Dusty returned to Louisville.

 

When Krekel performed with Dusty in Nashville, he landed a gig touring as the
guitarist in country musician Billy Swan’s band. Later Krekel came to the
attention of Jimmy Buffett’s manager and was hired on as Buffett’s guitarist.
Krekel toured and recorded with Buffett for a couple of years in the late-70s, appearing
on his Son Of A Son Of A Sailor album, and performing with the singer on Saturday
Night Live
. His work with Buffett, in turn, led to Krekel receiving his own
record deal.

 

Krekel’s solo debut, Crazy
Me
, was released in 1979 by Capricorn Records, unfortunately just a few
months before the label closed its doors. Krekel would remain in Nashville, forming the popular Music City
band the Sluggers with a couple veterans of Marshall Chapman’s band – hard-playing
Texans Willis Bailey and Tom Comet. The trio released a single album, Over The Fence, for Arista Records in
1986. A few years later, Krekel and the Sluggers would back up
singer/songwriter Mark Germino on his 1990 album Radartown.

 

The following year, Krekel’s second solo album, Out Of The Corner, was released by the
Italian label Appaloosa Records. Like his previous albums, it was widely
acclaimed but sold few copies. Disenchanted with the music business, Krekel
moved back to Louisville
in 1993, but with rock ‘n’ roll in his blood, he couldn’t stay away from the
music, forming the Groovebillys. During the ’90s, Tim Krekel and the
Groovebillys would tour frequently throughout the Southeast, and the band released
two albums, including Underground in
1999.

 

Krekel released a third solo album, Happy Town,
in 2002 and a fourth, World Keeps Turnin’,
in 2005. He would release his final effort, Soul
Season
, with the Tim Krekel Orchestra, in 2007. In between these
activities, Krekel toured again with Jimmy Buffett, and through the years he
performed alongside folks like Delbert McClinton, Lonnie Mack, Steve Forbert,
Marshall Chapman, Bo Diddley, and many others.

 

Although he is best remembered for his skills with a guitar,
Krekel also enjoyed moderate success as a songwriter. Country star Crystal
Gayle had a number one hit in 1984 with Krekel’s “Turning Away,” and
Patty Loveless hit number one in 1997 with “You Can Feel Bad,”
co-written by Krekel and Matraca Berg. Artists as diverse as Canned Heat, Rick
Nelson, Dr. Feelgood, Kim Ritchey, Martina McBride, and Jason & the
Scorchers have recorded Tim Krekel songs.

 

I personally had the good fortune to have met Tim Krekel in Nashville during the
mid-80s, when he was part of a group of like-minded artists that included Jason
& the Scorchers, Robert Jetton & the Rockin’ Rancheros, and Webb
Wilder. Tim was a nice guy, and although he never caught a break from the music
business, he never gave up making music. A roots-rock pioneer without realizing
what ground-breaking music he was creating, Krekel was an important influence
on a generation of alt-country artists.

 

A Louisville
music institution for over 30 years, Krekel’s voice and skilled guitarwork will
certainly be missed by fans in his hometown as well as throughout the
Southeast.

 

A small private funeral service
will be held Sunday, June 28th, 2:30 pm at
James Lee Presbyterian Church, 1741
Frankfort Avenue in Louisville. 

Everybody is
invited to take part in a public jazz funeral procession starting at the church
at 3:30 pm and walking to the memorial service being held at The Vernon
Club, 1575 Story Avenue
in Louisville. The family wishes that in lieu of flowers a donation be made to The KREK fund,
c/o ear X-tacy Records, 1534
Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205

   

 

 

 

[BLURT contributor Gordon’s excellent, erudite blues blog
can be read at http://blues.about.com ]

 

 

 

 

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