As you know, I make a policy of writing all of my own songs. This is for several reasons not the least of which being the fact that I believe that each of us has a unique view of the world and that in most cases that view can only be accurately described by only one person. 

When I attended the Kentucky School for the Blind, during my teenage years, I was fortunate enough to meet and become friends with one of the school's administrators--a man who truly changed the course of my life. 

It is impossible to write down all the things I learned from him so I won't even attempt it. I will simply say, however, that he, along with my late Uncle Alfred, taught me the fundamental principles of manhood. 

The man's name is Mr. Ricky Ricks. He, by example on a daily basis, taught me to always place the needs of family and friends ahead of my own. 

He didn't get angry with me very often-after all I was a great kid (Big Smile) but when he did, he always explained why he was angry. 

He enabled me to develop a "thick skin" in order to prepare me for the physical and social challenges ahead. 

I learned my lessons well and that is why, when he told me he had a song he'd always wanted me to sing/produce, I jumped at the opportunity. 

For those of you who may not know, "MAGNOLIA", the song's title, is the Mississippi state tree. 

Ricky, being from Mississippi, wrote the original version of the song in order to express his sadness at having left his home state--never to truly return home again. 

I think his sentiment is one that is felt by many, myself included. 

Now, I've changed the tempo, added a verse or two, and changed a few of the original lyrics. However, and make no mistake, the core elegance of the song is the result of Ricky's inspiration. 

It is my sincere hope that all of you who listen to "MAGNOLIA" are reminded of the wonder years of your life and smile at the cameos that appear on the movie screen of your mind.

Ricky, thank you for allowing me to co-write the song with you. 

I love you, man. Oh, yeah, I swear one of these days I will pay you back the 45 cents I borrowed back in '83 for that can of grape soda. (Smile)

Most Sincerely,

Mark Taylor
Tuesday, June 22nd 2004.

(by Mark Taylor & Ricky Ricks)
Copyright 2004 by Mark Taylor
All Rights Reserved
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