“Remember Christopher Cross? He won the Album of the Year Grammy, instead of the other nominees: Glass Houses by Billy Joel, The Wall by Pink Floyd, Trilogy: Past Present Future by Frank Sinatra, and Guilty by Barbra Streisand.”
—Jef Jaisun, Seattle, Washington
Some things you had to say [Jan Ramsey] about Frenchmen Street were on the mark since I’ve been around since the glory days of Uncle Lionel, Coco [Robicheaux], George the broom man, Kenny Holladay, etc. A lot of it is gone, thanks to Uber, pedicabs and even some cabbies. Blame them, not the homeless people. Your worst was picking on unlicensed food vendors. I’ve never been poisoned by them which is more than I can say about some of our better eateries. When people visit, I tell them to get food from the street vendors. Spoken like a true white person.
—John Cagney, New Orleans, Louisiana
The disenfranchised homeless deserve help, and we recommend services to those who truly need it. We enjoy street food as much as you do, but restaurants, bars and retailers are obligated to pay rent, utilities and taxes, and to buy permits to sell anything. These fees make it possible for police, streets, sanitation, lighting and more. It’s not too much to ask for street vendors to obtain a permit and to pay a nominal fee to help to pay for community necessities—then everyone benefits.—Ed.
Banned by the GRAMMYs
The following letter is in response to Chris Thomas King’s open letter saying he’s been banned by the Grammys.—Ed.
The Stones did a lot to expose young white audiences to the blues. I’ll give them credit for their early efforts, which included covering everyone from Slim Harpo (Baton Rouge) to Irma Thomas (Ponchatoula). I’m not swallowing this latest “blues” album of theirs. It’s almost as though they’re parodying their early work.
For nearly two decades Chris has been in the forefront of experimental music he calls the blues. Others of us would not call it that. His rant that rock ’n’ roll was all about whites stealing African American music is mostly B.S. There’s no question some of it happened. Anyone remember Pat Boone’s cover hits of Fats Domino and Little Richard tunes? I do. (File under “Awful Things You Can’t Unhear.”) Etta James once famously said, “I’d better not die, or Georgia Gibbs won’t have a career anymore.”
Finally, for F sake, Chris, it’s the Grammys! The people who gave one to Milli Vanilli, the organization that made Christopher Cross a 4-award winner in 1981. Remember Christopher Cross? He won the Album of the Year Grammy, instead of the other nominees: Glass Houses by Billy Joel, The Wall by Pink Floyd, Trilogy: Past Present Future by Frank Sinatra, and Guilty by Barbra Streisand. That same year Stephanie Mills took the female R&B Grammy from Aretha Franklin, Minnie Riperton, Roberta Flack and Diana Ross. There’s a trend here.
Some people will always be hacks, and that includes voting members of the Recording Academy. If you pin your hopes and dreams to those characters you’re bound to be disappointed. Just go out and play to the people who appreciate you. They’re the ones who count.
—Jef Jaisun, Seattle, Washington
A decade or so ago, I broached the idea to Cosimo Matassa and Allen Toussaint about posing with Dave Bartholomew in a photo shoot together—a portrait of the three architects of New Orleans R&B and rock ’n’ roll. They both agreed, and both said, “We’d better do it soon, Dave’s getting old.” I never got the shoot together and now, ironically, Dave has outlived the other two. Happy Birthday, Mr. Bartholomew! You surely changed the sound and direction of popular music.
—Scott Paton, Sunnyvale, California
Jamie Lynn Vessels
I was quite pleased to not only see the review of Jamie Lynn Vessels’ Storm Coming [October 2018] but also that it was rightfully a strong one.
We were lucky to have Jamie play a house concert in California earlier this year where Jamie and I stayed in touch for four years to ultimately make it happen: just her, her guitar, that killer voice and great attitude. Jamie Lynn Vessels is simply one of the nicest people I have ever run into and hopefully/deservedly she will take it to the next level. She made a ton of friends that day and hopefully we will have her back.
—Jim Rauh, Santa Clara, California