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On the positive side
Thanks so much for your review of Jimmy Burnsí Leaviní Here Walking (BLUES ACCESS #30). Thereís been a lot of good press from it, but your review was one of the few that didnít just rehash the bio (interesting a bio as it is). Even better, thanks for the attention to me and the band. No one else really went on a limb about us. Itís understandable ó itís Jimmyís record and he really shines on it. No one really talks about [Luther] Tuckerís playing on the Little Walter records ó they talk about Little Walter.
Anyhow, playing with Jimmy and a lot of the other blues guys has been really fantastic. The Mondays at Smoke Daddy are packed, and everyone in the band gets to shine. One more time, thanks for the ear and the encouragement. It can mean a lot for comments like that to come out of the blue. I may do my own record not too long from now, and if I do Iíll be sure to get you a copy. Best of luck!
I was disappointed to receive a bad review of my last album, especially since I had been so impressed with your magazine. Of course, itís anyoneís right not to like my music and to publish that opinion. Iíll stand on my record, and I invite your readers who are put off by the review to judge it for themselves. And, while weíre at it, letís all judge the anonymous reviewer who:
1) Wasnít careful enough to read the name of the album correctly (itís Up & In).
2) Took a gratuitous and cheap shot at my association with Muddy Waters, writing about it sarcastically to make himself appear clever.
I, and any blues musician serious enough to record, deserve more respect than that, even if a reviewer is not impressed with the music. I believe that this is a lapse of ethics and taste on your part, and that I deserve an apology, again, not for the negative opinion, but only for the sarcasm and disrespect. I expected better from you, and the magazines you compete with at least try to travel on a higher road. Readers, you judge for yourself.
[Ed. note: The review to which Mr. Margolin refers was in last issueís "New Releases." Unless otherwise noted, these short reviews are written by Catfish Whitey and the Red Rooster. This one was all Rooster. See this issueís "Reviews" section for a different point of view.]
Ice Cream Man
In 1985 I had an apartment at 8 Bedford Street in Manhattan (Lower West Side, or the Village, the neighborhood I grew up in) when Paul Butterfield moved into an apartment on my floor. We met a couple of times over the years and knew similar people. For a couple of months we hung out together, and he even came to work with me on one of my three ice-cream trucks. He was still fooling around with junk when I left for New Orleans that winter, but he was making a serious effort to stop. I saw him three or four times the ensuing year and then I heard about his death. Tragic.
Anyway, I would like to know if I can obtain the whole series?
Rahway, New Jersey
[Ed. note: Copies of the five-part Paul Butterfield series can be obtained from BLUES ACCESS at $5 per issue, except for #27 which is $7 and in very limited supply. Send check or money order to BLUES ACCESS, 1455 Chestnut Place, Boulder, CO 80304 or call 1-800-211-2961 to order by credit card. Canada add $1 per issue. Overseas add $4 per issue. Ask for issues #23, 25, 27, 29, 31 for the whole series.]
I have been reading and enjoying your magazine for the past year or so, and I find it to be perhaps the most informative one available. Your series on Paul Butterfield brought back a lot of memories for me. Paul and company were some of the influences that hit me back in the í60s and really got me interested in the blues.
I saw Paul in one of his last performances and even managed to get him on video tape about a month or so before he died. He was up in Toronto, and a local TV station was having a telethon for a childrenís hospital. The station said there would be a televised blues jam about two in the morning, so I set up my VCR. Paul sang and blew two numbers and sounded good. Needless to say that got edited over into my blues video collection. Keep up the great work.
Down on Johnny
Reviews of doubtful merit are made all the worse by inaccuracies. For example, Mr. Winterís recording career is actually much longer than the 28 years referred to, with Johnny himself having indicated that he made his first record when he was 15. Also, my understanding is that Winter signed with Columbia in 1969 for considerably more than the amount indicated in the review.
Mr. Winterís career and contributions hardly could be considered "a joke." Mr. Robinsí statement that "his reputation is currently so unsettled" is ambiguous and ill-founded, and to indicate that "Winter was never out to impress you with his good taste" is insulting to a bluesman who has really remained true to the genre and has contributed a unique style that is immediately recognizable as an immense talent.
I also doubt that Mr. Winterís motive was "to bowl you over." In addition, referring to Mr. Winterís voice in such a negative manner suggests a lack of appreciation of great blues singing. In fairness, the reviewer does state that one has to "recognize Winterís eminence as a guitar player," but he doesnít go near far enough with his praise. Johnny Winter should in fact be recognized as one of the truly great masters of the blues musical idiom.
West Vancouver, British Columbia
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