[Dixielandjazz] Re: Etta James - doesnn't sing "Tell Mama"

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Dec 11 16:17:22 PST 2003

> TCASHWIGG at aol.com wrote (polite snip)
> Any artist who commands $12,000.00 an hour or more should give their audience
> what they want and what they paid for.
> I am sure that with her refusal to sing her biggest Hit Song, she angered and
> disappointed many of the ticket buyers who will never buy another ticket to
> see her live.   Many, if not all of those fans bought the millions of records
> that made her famous and financially successful in this business.  The very
> least she could do is honor them with singing them even ONE MO TIME.

That's what happens when we workin folks get our heads turned, believe our own
press releases and realize that we are "artists". Like our excrement doesn't stink.

When requested, Louis always played the "Saints", Basie always played "April In
Paris", Bennet always sings "San Francisco". etc. No different from Dorsey playing
his theme song all the time or Miller playing "In the Mood".

Perhaps that illustrates the difference between PROFESSIONALS and ARTISTS?

Even Artie Shaw who called his audience "morons" and hated being chained to Begin
the Beguinne had the good sense to get the hell out of the business early, rather
than meet his audience half way and be unhappy. He is typical of those performers
who hate to be controlled by their success and will refuse requests not because
they don't like to play that song, but because in their mind, it takes away some of
their control over their "ART".

Dorsey loved "Sentimental", played it incessantly because it was "his idea".  No
doubt Shaw too had his favorite which he played all the time. But Beguinne? Nah,
because the majority of the audience wants it, that must mean it sucks musically.
Aren't many of us caught in this trap? Like if it's popular, it must be awful
because the great unwashed audience doesn't really "know" about art.

Most of us who play this music know hundreds of similar head cases.

Do they forget that it was the great unwashed who made Dixieland popular in 1917
while the World of Art" music was thoroughly disgusted with the OKOM audience as
well as the musos? What a great transformation. From Crap to Art in a mere 86
years. ;-)

Or is it still crap and we are truly morons for thinking otherwise?  :-)

Steve (I'd happily play the Saints 365 days a year) Barbone

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