Blues Access Winter 2000
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Pistol packers

Iíve been enjoying the Fall issue very much Ö itís what a blues mag is supposed to be. There are a couple of glitches in a couple of reviews that would be noticed only by a Southeast-obsessive like myself.

Wayne Robinsí review of the Spirituals to Swing set is good and accurate save for one point. Blind Boy Fuller did not kill his wife; he was in jail for trying to do so! He supposedly stood in the middle of the room, firing his pistol (yes, even blind men carried pistols Ö thatís what makes the United States such a great place) and turning so as to effectively spray the whole room. Having spoken to Cora Mae Allen a number of times during the í70s, this mention of her demise was greatly exaggerated. I think that Fuller did wound his wife and thatís why he was in jail and unavailable to go up to New York and perform in Hammondís concert. It was Buddy Moss who went to jail for murdering his girlfriend in 1935.

And speaking of Moss (what a blend!), Tim Schuller miscredits the song "Chesterfield" to John Jackson. Itís by the late great Buddy Moss. He played it for me and Bruce Bastin when we first me him in 1969. (This was well before he came after me with a pistol a few years later.) John Jackson probably learned it from Buddy at the concert (and our LP/CD on Biograph) they played together in D.C. Jackson is the uncredited second guitarist at that session.

Small details, but I donít want incorrect stories to make the rounds without comment. Keep up the good work, guys.

Peter B. Lowry
Collaroy, NSW, Australia

Too good to pass up

About three years ago I starting really getting into the blues. I have always been a fan of great guitar music and was seriously impressed by Stevie Ray Vaughan. I know the "die-hard" blues fans have little respect for him, but he got me hooked. I started listening to Stevie and reading about his playing style, and it drove me deeper into the roots of his music. Then I started listening to Albert King, Albert Collins, B.B. and all of Stevieís heroes. From there I just kept going deeper.

Two years ago my family and I took a trek to Catalina Island for the second annual Fender Blues Festival. I was completely hooked by then! That year I met a bunch of people in Central Pennsylvania that were going to form a Blues Society; The Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania. I helped out where I could and met some really talented musicians in the area, even got to jam with a few.

Now, to my point Ö Last year we went back to Catalina and BLUES ACCESS had a stand at the Robert Lockwood Jr. and John Hammond acoustic show. I subscribed to your magazine, and now I read it religiously. What happens is, I read about musicians I have not heard of, but just from the detail in the article I can tell whether or not I will like them. Whatís killing me is all these good reviews. For every good review or article on an artist I go out and buy their CD! Youíre costing me a bundle, but I really enjoy the results.

Thanks for your diligence and keep up the good work!

Jeff Haley
Lancaster, PA

Smoke storm

After all the great blues artists that have died either directly and/or indirectly because of tobacco and smoking, how pathetic that you should include a picture of your new (and apparently very addicted) managing editor, John Sinclair, with his drug delivery device in hand!

In the picture on page 5 (Fall 1999 issue), it even appears as if you are laughingly pointing to Sinclairís cigarette and making light of what has undoubtedly already shortened his life.

This certainly does nothing to improve the world, given the millions that are dying every year because of tobacco use.

How about using your publication and influence to convince at least some of the nationís bluesí nightspots to provide clean, smoke-free air for their artists and patrons? At least, though, please donít make an already terrible problem worse!

David Fusco
Arlington, TX

Reviewer, let them be

We must take exception with Bob Cianciís review of Stavin Chain (Fall, 1999). Why must reviewers be so obsessed with who a band sounds like or whether or not they are true enough to any genre to suit the purists among us? John Lawrence and Grayson Capps have never attempted to "be" anything except themselves. The eclectic mix of original material on the CD certainly proves that. Itís a shame that Mr. Cianci doesnít appreciate Graysonís poetry and Johnís lyricism. He probably wouldnít even enjoy one of their captivating live performances. Donít you want to move? And by the way, thatís the incomparable John Mooney you hear playing slide on "Bible." Thereís no mistaking that sound!

Lisa McKinney,
Larry Chastain,
Greg Forrester,
Anne Forrester,
Ö and five others

Winder, GA

Rough eyeballing

I am pleased to learn that John Sinclair is joining your staff. I have been a fan of Sinclairís since he used to write the "Rock & Roll Dope" column in the Fifth Estate.

I enjoyed the R.L. Burnside article. It is controversial stuff, but thatís what makes life interesting. I am glad heís making a few bucks.

I must complain about the shaded background on pages 14, 19 & 20 of the recent fall issue. I have seen this art-director-takes-over look in other mags and in CD liner notes, and it may be nice to look at, but itís miserable to read over. I suggest you hire an art director who reads.

Overall youíre doing OK, so please renew my subscription.

Charlie Walmsley
Mount Pleasant, MI

Featured Flyers

Thank you BLUES ACCESS and Bryan Powell for the feature story on Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers in issue #39. It's an honor and privilege to be working with such a talented group of musicians and some of the nicest people one could ever hope to meet. We look forward to bringing you the Flyersí music well into the next century!

David Bartlett
Tone-Cool Records
Cambridge, MA

Handy fella

Thanks for a great spread on the Handy Awards in the Fall 1999 issue. I think photographer/writer Chuck Winans also did your 1998 Handy coverage quite ably ó the next best thing to being there.

Larry Chastain
Winder, GA

[Kurt: photo goes here]

Serenading baby

My name is Scott Cantor and I won this beautiful B.B. King guitar in your contest. I love this baby and plan to let it sing many a night. Thanks.

Scott Cantor
Boulder, MT

Only the scum subscribe

Sorry, youíve priced yourself out of the running (and cut issues), but Iím sure the yuppie scum will still subscribe.

PS. Since issue #1, I have enjoyed it, however.

Mike Foley
Plymouth Meeting, PA

Hound of applause

A belated but very heartfelt thanks for drawing my name to receive a copy of MusicHound Blues: The Essential Album Guide. It certainly is that, and more! Itís a veritable wealth of information. As editor of the Blues Ambassador, the monthly newsletter of the Capital Area Blues Society (CABS), I find myself referring to it quite often. Itís a great resource.

CABS just had its first blues festival, with John Primer and Larry McCray headlining, and we actually made a little money. We even amazed ourselves! All the bands were great, and everybody seemed to have a fantastic time.

Well, thanks again for MusicHound Blues ó Iím certainly enjoying it. Thanks, too, for doing your part to keep the blues alive with your radio show and, of course, with BLUES ACCESS, another fine publication. Hard to believe itís going on 10 years. Congratulations! Give yourselves a big blues pat on the back (and your staff, too)!

Bonnie "Queen B" Stebbins
via e-mail


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