Rick Jones &  Valerie Neale

A Celebration & Tribute

to a Lifetime of Music 

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Experience the music today!

Rick Jones

in Loving Memory of

 

Rick Jones, my husband, lover, friend and musical companion died on October 7, 2021 from esophageal cancer.  I first met him in 1977, and in 1981,  “both burnt bitter by love” as the lyrics to Easy Being True go, we fled to Los Angeles, where the musical he had written with his partner Dave Pierce, Captain Crash Vs the Zzorg Women, Chapters 5 and 6, had found a theatre.  It wasn’t until 2003, when he bought me my first guitar, that we started singing and playing together.  Since I was a leftie, I had never even considered the thought of trying to play his guitars. 

Over the years, he encouraged my playing and it was he who pushed us to make our first CD , Life Drawing, in 2008. But that was Rick. It wasn’t so much about his own achievements as about how he supported and encouraged others to succeed.  He was endlessly generous with his time, and worked on my songs with the same enthusiasm as his own.

We performed at house concerts and small venues over the years, places where we knew people would listen to the lyrics of the songs. Rick was always writing songs and all of those songs remained unrecorded.  In December 2014, we went to Death Valley with the intention of shooting the cover of a CD that was to be named Desert Dreams. We shot a lot of photographs but somehow the CD never got made.  In June 2021, when he was about to undergo surgery for esophageal cancer, we realized that we needed to try to record some of these songs, many of which we had been playing for years, and which were so dear to our hearts. He was not strong enough to go into a studio to record, so I read the Garageband manual and we recorded the tracks at home. The circumstances of the recording became increasingly difficult as Rick began to lose his strength. 

We had recorded Life Drawing at DKS Productions in Hayward, California, and we turned to Don Turney again, for assistance with Desert Dreams. He took the raw Garageband tracks and mixed and mastered them for us.  Without him this project would not have been possible.

 

We received the last mixed track back from Don on the morning of October 6.  He died in the early hours of October 7,  having heard the entire CD, played it to his daughters, and given it his thumbs up.  The cover of the CD is one of the photographs we took on that 2014 trip.

 

There are many songs of Ricks that remain unrecorded… maybe there will be an opportunity to present them somehow in the future.  But meanwhile, I am so proud that we were able to pull off this project.   It was literally something that he stayed alive for.  His voice, mostly recorded in June 2021, was as strong and powerful as ever.  The last track, When You Walked Through My Door, was not originally intended to be part of the CD, but it appears in a short play that he wrote, and that will be produced sometime in late 2022 or early 2023.   So we had to record it.  At that point he could no longer play the guitar, so he taught me the chords. I played the guitar and he sang the song, just once on October 3, 2021.  He was clearly struggling for breath, but it was so beautiful that it simply had to be the final track, his last words.

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From the Heart...and From the Hip


The Music of Rick & Val

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