Former Nolan High School science teacher Joe Kuban managed to create a remarkable CD of original music before he died of Lou Gehrig’s disease earlier this year.
Making the album wasn’t easy. Kuban’s voice and coordination were failing him and the recording of “Solitario” became laborious toward the end. At one point, Kuban became so frustrated by the difficulties of singing that he tried to get others to take over the lead vocals. But family and friends encouraged him to do his best and sing all the songs.
The result was a home run.
“Solitario” is similar in tone to those final half-dozen Johnny Cash “American Series” albums, when the Man in Black was near the end of his life and knew it, and he croaked out his heart for posterity. Kuban’s swan song is equally beautiful, in part because of the obvious physical perseverance it took to pull off the performances.
Kuban’s brother John produced, engineered, and mixed the music, and added some fine electric guitar work. Brother Frank played a mean stand-up bass, and the rest of the Lost Chizo Band members were hitting their stride on this impassioned project.
Sorry for the late notice (I just got word of this), but you can listen to the surviving Chizo band members talk about recording Kuban’s last album at 4:30 pm today on radio station KNON FM 89.3 on the Texas Trevor show.
Listen online here.