|Obituary||Condolences||Harmonica King by Gary Curtis||My Big Brother by Guitar Mikey|
Rich's parents were always so proud of their son and for good reason. Rich was everyone’s mentor. He exposed everyone around him to this American cultural staple ‘The Blues’ starting from his adolescence, when he had to go to Buffalo NY to get the latest Jimmy Reed records. He would then bring them back to share with his friends. I myself worked with many musicians who were hugely influenced by Rich’s own records before ever having a chance to meet him. The string of musicians that passed through his band and record projects are too numerous to mention. I can imagine how any person who worked with Rich for any amount of time, would see the experience as being invaluable to their own growth as a musician.
I myself attended Newell U for many years. We spent countless hours, days, months and years listening and talking about the main players like Muddy and Wolf to the more obscure. We found artists that bonded us together on a more personal level, as I am sure each attendee had their own bond with him. For Rich and I it was Scrapper Blackwell and Blind Snooks Eaglin. I often smile when I tell people of the times we would make the trip to the record vault at the beginning of class and I would find pencil scratching on the jackets of the records he cherished so much. Only to realized that he had crossed out the musician credit names and replaced them with who actually was on the record. He knew it so well. Then there was the excitement of the records that he couldn’t identify who for sure was on the session. Was it James Burton on guitar or his replacement trying to sound like him? That’s when you could really feel his excitement, your excitement.
Rich was everyone’s mentor but unlike most, I stayed well after class
ended and got to know him as few would. For a few years Rich’s home
became my second. I was there 3 or 4 nights a week from after dinner
to the wee hours of the morning. I got to know him away from the
booze, bars and the scene. That Rich was a generous loyal friend.
One of the most intelligent, funniest men I will ever know.
All I remember is laughing a lot. He treated me as he called me -
his ‘little brother’. Over the years I saw less and less of this
Rich but this is the Rich I remember.