Ne Me Quitte Pas...this is truly beautiful. I had never heard it before. Thank you for the education.
It was an honor to play piano in your band, Billy Lee. You were a true gentleman and a charismatic artist up to the end.
Here's how you fix the problem with no mention of race or residency:
The money is there. Use some of the 3 million/year Godwin has put back in the general fund for the past 5 years to recruit and retain new officers. Like so:
Raise the pay, give signing bonuses, give service bonuses for staying for 5 or more years, improve the retirement plan to compete with other cities, recruit from high schools and the military, provide a real career ladder for officers and fire Godwin. Anybody who can't even staff their department, has killed morale, and wastes money on frivolous lawsuits at the taxpayer's expense needs to go. Furthermore, we are still number 2 in the nation for crime despite all his Blue Crush, Eye in the Sky, Real Time Crime Center and other frills.
A blog is not a legitimate newspaper any more than graffiti or bathroom wall scribbles are, sir.
If you think we TAXPAYERS should PAY for Mr. Godwin's pet lawsuits and tie up the City Attorney(who is allegedly concurrently investigating Mr. Godwin at the behest of Mr. Godwin for ticket-fixing by Mssrs. Godwin and Tusant according to the Commercial Appeal), and then hire other attorneys in and out of Tennessee to protest what is obviously a carefully cloaked, sealed civil suit(not criminal)which flies in the face of the 1st Amendment and all that is holy you are absolutely out of your cottonpicking mind, sir.
Why should we pay to erode our hard won freedom?
Surely not for better spelling, grammar, and fact checking. For that matter, do you take every word in the Enquirer or Midnight Star to be truthful? Of course not, you CONSIDER THE SOURCE, don't you?
This coming from the pen of an obviously capable journalist is staggeringly disheartening.
Please read the 1st Amendment.
In European clubs, even small pubs, they do not allow televisions to be on during live music and the crowds are more discerning. We used to play (and hear)some very concert-like gigs on Beale Street until the advent of loud outdoor speakers and outdoor bars at which time the focus shifted from a music experience to a generic alcohol experience. When the loudspeakers across the street precluded the bands hearing themselves perform, even indoors in the clubs, that was the death knell.
The club owners desiring higher volume of sales and the public which ostensibly does not seem to care what type of music they get as long as it is free have seriously lowered the common denominator. Many of my peers have been reduced to playing for tips and most barbacks make a better wage than the average working musician.
Ever wonder what happened to the fine cadre of world class musicians for which Memphis has been famous? They have been forgotten and supplanted with big 300 million dollar basketball forums that rarely feature any music. The remaining big rooms (Pyramid, et cetera)have been negated by Mr. Heisley's right of first refusal, sending conventioneers and entertainers to Desoto County, Tunica or Little Rock.
We just talk about music but rarely invest anything, even an honest "listen" to our local talent. There are literally thousands of fine musicians still living here who are too disgusted to play under these circumstances. You may see some of us leaving the airport headed for destinations where they are appreciated and paid. I play in a band that rarely plays in its own home town.
In Memphis, we have lost most of our full time professional musicians by starving them out. The average pay for a band member for a night's work is about ten dollars less per night than it was when I played here in the 1970's and 80's. The fact is that a preponderance of local listeners neither give a damn about preserving our musical heritage nor will they pay a cover charge of a few bucks. Outside of Shelby County they pay $20 a seat or more to hear my band and have done so for the 18 years I have been in this band.
No sour grapes...I am not blaming anyone, but just attempting to offer an explanation. It is indeed a cultural phenomenon that has taken place and perhaps it will revert again. My words are not intended to be hurtful to anyone, particularly our fine music fans(I know you are still out there). I am one of the lucky ones, one of a mere handful of individuals who can actually ply their trade and get enough work to survive and keep up their chops. Don't believe me? How many wealthy musicians live in Memphis? It is a much smaller number than the number of millionaire bar owners/convention shills I assure you.
My heartfelt thanks to those listeners who have encouraged us. I will always do my best to entertain you as long as God gives me breath, and He knows that I play not for the money or the glamor but for the love of the music. I hope you have a good musical experience in my home town, but if you don't, please don't judge your musicians too harshly.
By Hannah Sayle, Chris Herrington, Chris Shaw, Louis Goggans, Greg Akers and Bruce VanWyngarden
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