September 1 – Happy Birthday Lee Richey

220px-LeeRicheyI have to admit I absolutely love Country Music and pretty much always have. I’m not sure why, maybe because my Mom and Dad were both fans of the genre themselves so I was exposed to it at an early age. In fact, I still remember coming home from Alex Amendola’s music store which used to be located for a short time on the corner of Amsterdam’s Division and Bayard Streets, with a new Eddie Arnold album and hearing my older brother Jerry say, “Eddie Arnold! What the hell is wrong with you?”

I liked the fact that most of the C&W songs told an actual story and more importantly, they were stories an eight-year-old kid like me could understand. The honest to God’s truth is that if I had learned how to play guitar, I just may have taken a shot at becoming a C&W performer. I always loved telling stories and as folks who’ve invited me to their weddings can attest, you give me a few bourbons or six or seven beers and I can sing a helluva “Kansas City!’ My wife always tells me I never would have made it because they don’t make cowboy hats big enough to fit my huge head.

But enough about me, what brought this whole subject up was today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant. His name is Lee Richey. Lee was born here in Amsterdam on September 1, 1961. He graduated from Wilbur Lynch High School in the late seventies and then started a career in radio. Like so many other Amsterdam kids who built solid careers with a microphone (i.e. Chet Curtis, Rip Rowan, Bob Cudmore, Joe Spencer) Lee’s career path included an early stint at WCSS where he became first a DJ and later the station’s music director in the late 1980’s. But like me, Richey had a passion for C&W but unlike me, he turned that passion into a career….

I’m going to leave you with this clip of Richey during one of his hotel-room interviews with a beast of a talent named James Otto singing an amazing song called “Just Got Started Loving You.” Keep your eye on Richey getting into the song while holding two microphones. You gotta love this guy! Now excuse me while I go try to find that old Eddie Arnold album.

You can read the rest of my story about this Amsterdam-born DJ in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.


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