Doon's Music Man
Written by Galen Lawrence
Rich Ricke, self-taught musician, was born in Williams, Iowa in the year 1901 and ended his musical career at the age of 64 years. He lived to the age of 68 and contributed to Doon's Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1967.
Rich was both a performing artist and composer. His early years were involved with dance band engagements and he was both pianist and promoter for the early group called "The Korn Kings." My brother Howard Lawrence and myself played with Rich in his engagements in the 1930's. The pay was very meager but the fun of playing made up for the poor wages.
Before the 30's Rich played with other groups and was a contemporary of Lawrence Welk, who played in many of the same old halls in which Rich entertained. One of Rich's favorite antics was to play most of the musical number without ever looking at the piano or music.
In later years Maestro Ricke turned to composing and wrote songs by the dozens. Some of the more famous ones were, "You Tickle Me Pink," (which was a number performed by Ike and Dorothy Smook in the 75th jubilee), "Legionaires on Parade," and "Universal Draft." He also wrote music for the Congregational Church choir and his numbers were occasionally performed.
Rich was a daily visitor down and around town. His usual greeting was a brief "Yousah" and when visiting he often would open the door first and then knock. He made daily visits to the coffee shop and always poured his coffee into the saucer and when properly cooled would drink it with a noticeable "slurp."
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