Bringing some ‘Lights’ in answer to the darkness


by douglas john imbrogno | april 17, 2024 |

Rebecca Skeen-Webb was a prolific songwriter, sweet friend and a dear musical compatriot of mine. After many hitches, open mics, and numerous rehearsals, we began playing out together as singer-songwriters at the latter end of the 20th century. We bolstered each other’s courage in a convergence of shared tunes, harmonic kismet and live performance. We learned by, well … by performing. It was a thrilling education and significant joy. Her song “Lights” remains one of my favorites, so much so that I recorded it and featured in on my first album after she was gone. Today, I am debuting a handmade music video version of the tune, in honor of this being her birthday month, although she has been gone from us a long while, now.

Rebecca Skeen-Webb, back in the day.

Becky was born April 15, 1951 in South Charleston, W.Va., and passed on from this world on March 31, 2002. It was far too soon for those of us who loved and adored her spirit, soul, and creativity. For some years, she and I sang in the group ‘Doogabeka,’ an amalgamation of one of my nicknames — ‘Doog‘ — and the last half of her full name. We often performed her gorgeous tune, ‘Lights,’ in the short number of years we played out together, before ovarian cancer took her onwards.

A ‘Doobaeka’ promo gig shot from before the centuries turned.

You may prefer, or like to hear, Becky’s own recorded version of ‘Lights,’ seen below. If you hear a little Judy Collins in her rich, vaulting singing, as well a host of other killer female singers, you will understand how it was such a pleasure for me and others to hear and harmonize with that beguiling voice. My version of ‘Lights’ has some small lyrical differences, either from my needing to add a passing word to scan a line or because I ended up singing the glorious ending chorus with ‘you‘ instead of ‘they.’ I fretted over this when Bob Webb first posted this version below. But, now, I think, both versions of ‘Lights’ do justice to a great, great song.

‘LIGHTS’ by Rebecca Skeen-Webb | Click to view video

My iteration of ‘Lights’ appeared on my first album, released in 2004, a recording project featuring an ad hoc, shifting collection of some of West Virginia’s finest musicians. Over several years, they came together piecemeal, to the recording studio and den of Bob Webb in the Mountain State’s capital city. He engineered, played on and masterfully birthed the CD on which ‘Lights’ is featured, titled ‘Saint Stephen’s Dream’ by the Garagecow Ensemble. (The name is a nod to the cow that the family of my immigrant Italian father kept in a garage in Lorain, Ohio near Lake Erie. If that cow could talk …) These exemplary musicians brought to life an album of my tunes, which also included this most brilliant one by Becky, which features some ravishing harmonizing by Heidi Muller. ‘Lights’ encodes Becky’s spiritual DNA and deeply observant self. It is an honor to sing it every time I am up for it, seeking to channel its worthiness, heartfulness, and truthfulness.

Peace along your way, Becky. I miss you still in my life.

‘LIGHTS’ by Rebecca Skeen-Webb

LEAD VOCAL: Douglas Imbrogno
GUITAR: Douglas Imbrogno, Bob Webb
NOTE: “Lights” and “Saint Stephen’s Dream” by the Garagecow Ensemble are available on Spotify and Apple Music, and I’ve also found it on Amazon.

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1 comment

David says:

Yup she has a great voice

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