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Good-bye to a Man I Never Heard of

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Jerry Ragovoy died this week. I had never heard of him, but he was the co-author of my anthem for this blog, “Cry Baby.” Using the name Norman Meade, he wrote it with Bert Berns for soul and R&B singer Garnet Mimms in 1963. Janis Joplin recorded the song shortly before her death in 1970. “Get It While You Can” is also a Ragovoy song, as is “Time Is on My Side,” made famous by the Rolling Stones. He also produced one of my all-time favorite albums, Bonnie Raitt’s Streetlights. He was the kind of guy who had a stellar career behind the headlines. In 2008, the British label Ace recognized his importance with a retrospective CD, The Jerry Ragovoy Story: Time Is on My Side, 1953-2003, which inspired NPR to review his career. I’m going to order it.

Here’s the Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters version of “Cry Baby.” There’s another one on YouTube without the cheesy pictures, but the sound quality is better on this one. What a great voice Ragovoy recognized, and what a great tune he wrote.

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