Greatness can be distorted by talent, as talent can get in the way of passion, love, and sincerity. My friend Ricky Lavellie was not a talented guitar player but he was in my opinion my favorite guitar player because he was passionate, sincere, and filled with love for people and music. Ricky was a 50 year old resident of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and he was a friend of many. He was a slow walker and a slow talker, and most days you could find Ricky playing music in the DTES, he especially loved old gospel songs. Ricky stood up for the poor and he often was on the frontline protesting for low income peoples housing rights.
Ricky was my friend and we played music for many hours. The last time that I saw Ricky was as a Christmas party in the DTES, we played 30+ Christmas songs, well we played a portion of over 30 Christmas songs. The thing is that Ricky did not know many songs, but he knew countless parts of songs, so he would mix choruses and verses of different songs in the same number. Also Ricky played in open G and just made things work. I am not sure if he even knew how to play cowboy chords. Many times Ricky would get his guitar stolen and those were some of his darkest days. Great to see him with a guitar in his hands.
The night that this bonfire picture was taken Ricky was so excited to be singing around a fire that he played through the night. I went to bed at midnight and work up the next morning at sunrise and he was still in the same chair waiting for someone to wake up and rejoin him to sing more songs. That is that way that he was, always filled with joy when spending time with a circle of friends sharing story and song.
"Well I am I am trying say, let's keep the fight up for this place, and keep going with it all the way."
Ricky Lavallie 1960 - 2012