In loving memory of Rick "Levi" Coghill
As I reflect on the passing to glory of my friend and partner in the ground breaking music group, Lamb, I am truly grateful for all the times both good and difficult we shared together from 1972-1992.
I first met Rick Coghill at our fledgling Messianic synagogue, Beth Messiah, in 1971 in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was playing music with the worship team and Rick began to join in. I was also playing some of the new messianic music I was creating at the time. Rick was an excellent and regionally well-known musician and studio guitarist and began playing along. (BTW - My father and mother, Rabbi Martin and Yohanna Chernoff were the founders of Beth Messiah – Cincinnati and it was my mother who gave Rick the nickname “Levi” because he modeled the Levitic musicians in Scripture that provided music in the Temple.)
Eventually he began accompanying me whenever I would play my new messianic music for small crowds. You might say Lamb as an entity was born after I graduated the University of Cincinnati and a few of us decided to back pack through Europe and Israel for seven weeks. Rick was part of that foursome and he and I decided to drag our guitars along with us to play as the Lord led. We ended up playing several concerts on kibbutzim in Israel which were enthusiastically received by all who heard us.
By the end of 1972 we had recorded our first album, and after much soul searching and creative energy expended called the album LAMB. Our roles together were clear and defined. I was the singer songwriter and played guitar and piano. He was the virtuoso guitarist and produced/arranged the music in studio. Our ministry together spanned 20 years.
Lamb as a music group not only pioneered what we call messianic music today but also popularized this new music to a generation of listeners. The Lamb music Rick produced in studio often debuted in the top three of the national Contemporary Music and sales charts all through the 1970’s.
Eventually, Lamb’s ministry came to an end in 1992 and Rick moved back to his hometown Cincinnati, Ohio in the mid 1990’s. Just a couple of days before his passing I was informed that he was nearing the end of his journey here on earth. I was thankfully given the opportunity to send him final words via text to be read at his bedside. He could not talk but could still hear. These were the words from my heart that I sent to him;
To Rick Coghill from Joel Chernoff: I hope these words reach you before you go to your bountiful reward. To this day I continue to be amazed by the number of letters, emails and other communications from numerous Lamb fans around the world whose lives were and still today continue to be changed even transformed by the music we made together. Your productions were brilliant and timeless and will outlive us both. I also want you to know how very proud and honored I am to have served the Lord with you those 20 years with Lamb. You were a major force in pioneering and creating a new music genre that helped define a prophetic movement. The fruit of your labor will live on in eternity and for that I am very sure you will hear Yeshua say “Well done!” I look forward to the time our paths cross again in the heavenlies. Until then…
Ps. 23:4 – Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. Your rod and your staff will comfort me.
Rest in peace brother Rick.
Rick "Levi" Coghill