Ref:original post

Dave & Alita Melton slydemann@EARTHLINK.NET
Fri Jun 12 13:25:08 EDT 1998

William Sakovich wrote:
> Leonard writes:
> > >In a message dated 98-06-11 03:11:56 EDT,
> writes:
> > >
> > >> John Hammomd is a poor
> > >>  musician.  He plays competently and sings terribly and that has
> nothing
> > >>  to do with whether he's black or white. Whether he's black or
> white may
> > >>  have something to do with his recording and touring succes,
> though.
> >
> > I have to ask: Are you a musician. Also defining poor musician
> would be helpful
> > in understanding your post. I do think John Hammond and scores of
> others have
> > 'terrible' voices, but that has nothing to do with singing well.
> Your post
> > tells me are not a musician. Right or wrong.
> The reason Leonard asks you this is because he is a "musician" and he
> thinks you're not. He thinks you're not because you criticized
> another musician. Even semi-pros with regular day jobs are into the
> show-biz mentality that other performers, no matter how bad they are,
> are not to be criticized for any reason.
>  In fact, I can remember a time when Leonard was publicly criticized
> on this list by another semi-pro musician because he expressed his
> own negative opinion about a musician. This can only be done in
> private, amongst the priesthood and other guild members, when the
> uninitiated  and unwashed aren't around.
> Also, if you're not a musician, you can't possibly have the
> discernment or understanding to make the judgement about musicianship
> to begin with. Therefore, anyone who dares express a negative opinion
> about a musician is not worth having an opinion to begin with.
> Therefore, all musicians, from Horowitz and Segovia down to the
> scuzzball in ripped cutoffs playing an out-of-tune guitar on the
> street corner for quarters, are good.
> This is really funny. Professional musicians are earning money by
> playing for the listening public, the vast majority of whom aren't
> professional musicians. Can you imagine how long a French restaurant
> would stay in business if the customers didn't care for the food, but
> the management told them, "Put up or shut up. You can't cook French
> food, so you don't know what you're talking about."
> One would hope that these "musicians" have never had a negative
> opinion about books they read or movies they see.
> Unless, of course, they can write novels and direct feature-length
> films themselves.
> > Also we all know the stories of how white artists such as Bonnie
> Raitt, Ronnie
> > Earl and even John Hammond has helped black artists get recorded
> and more
> > attention. So what have you done or are you just a meedee-okra
> person...?
> I see. Good works are the basis for determining your worth as a
> musician and the availability of recording contracts. Sounds like a
> church or the upper levels of martial arts.
> Besides, people do what people can do. He can't walk into the offices
> of the record company president and say, why don't you sign this
> unknown to a contract. He won't get past the secretary. He's probably
> just another guy spending his hard-earned money buying the discs and
> concert tickets. Giving him the privilege of being patronized by
> musicians when he actually expresses an opinion.
> And doing his part in fueling the entire industry and keeping it
> going, only to be sneered at by the people he gives money to.
> > Put up or shut up.
> Don't you just love these mailing list tough guys.  What are you
> going to do--step on his fingers?
> - Bill Sakovich

For me this brings up how much I value the opinion of someone who
is not a musician. I find their opinions on the whole much more
and less judgemental. I feel like often we musicians tend to think we
know it all, because what we play governs our tastes and opinions of
other musicians. That's why I can't always trust my own opinion. The
minute I do I will stop learning and get in a rut.

Enough Kung Foo,


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