Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Snaker



   As in Dave "Snaker" Ray. I had been reading Dylan's Chronicles and of course, Dave's name came up. It was 1959 when Bob met him, along with Tony Glover and John Koerner. They were all folk-blues aficionados; Dave was but a teenager when he started playing on the folk stages. In a few years Koerner, Ray and Glover, as they had come to be known, had signed with Elektra Records, were playing the Newport Folk fest, John Lennon was buying (and digging) their albums, and Bob- well, I think you might have already heard about Bob's career. Dave's star was rising as well. As a co-producer of Bonnie Raitt's first album and builder of a recording studio in rural Minnesota, Dave was a force to be reckoned with in the music world. And then it all fell apart, Dave was hit (while stopped!) on his motorcycle, he suffered a divorce, and the bottle was always sure to be nearby.

   But Dave came back. He found true love, He dried up, He even worked in the insurance business (long enough to realize he liked music better), and devoted himself full-time to his passion. And he began putting out great music, with new collaborators as well as old. He was a sagacious old master now, and his story-telling only got better with age. He inspired, educated and helped many a younger (i.e., me) musician and producer. He developed a website full of his slightly bent take on things with lots of photos from his archives. He was gigging a lot, in the Upper Midwest and nationally at blues and folk festivals, alone or with Tony and John.

   And then came the x-ray, showing a spot on his lung. He lasted a few months, and then passed away, fighting, and smoking, to the end. But Dave lives on, in his music, in the memories of those that worked with him. The last time he was well enough to play was in November, 2002 at Princeton University.

   Still thinking about you, Dave. Your song isn't over yet.

By Professor Batty



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