Box Full of Letters from Issue #49
Mr. Bad Example
Thank you Lloyd Sachs for your look back/memorial to Warren Zevon [Farther Along, ND #48, Nov.-Dec. 2003]. He has always been a part of my musical life, just outside of the mainstream, and just twisted enough to stay interesting. To answer your question — no, you are not the only one “who dug that forgotten live album” (it has a title by the way: Learning To Flinch). It is in fact, my all-time favorite live album, just ahead of Waiting For Columbus and Alchemy.
The one area of his musical legacy you omitted was Warren’s softer side. No one else could pull off transitioning from violent tales of mercenaries in the jungle or colorful psychopaths to powerful, heartbreaking ballads so effortlessly and effectively. Otherwise, your tribute did an admirable job of encapsulating his career.
We will miss you Warren; thanks for setting such a “Bad Example.”
— Jim Werkmeister
Aliso Viejo, California
The man in black:
Johnny & Neil
I really enjoy the magazine. I was surprised that Rich Kienzle didn’t include Neil Young as an important “Johnny Cash Show” guest [Farther Along, ND #48]. I know my interest in Johnny was rekindled by the Nashville Skyline duet, but letting a super-hippie Neil come on and sing “After The Gold Rush” to his audience made me love the man!
— Dave Erickson
St Louis, Missouri
I used to read Don McLeese when he wrote for the Austin American-Statesman. His review of Rodney Crowell’s new album, Fate’s Right Hand [ND #47, Sept.-Oct. 2003], was right on the money! At 50, I know where Rodney has been and where he is going. My one question is — how old is Maria, Don’s wife? She must be truly young or young at heart!
— Greg Sundburg
Universal City, Texas
In Jesse Walker’s recent article about Dylan’s “Christian albums” [ND #48], Mr. Walker implies that Dylan wrote the song called “They Killed Him”; Kris Kristofferson wrote it.
— Jason Morphew
I was a little surprised by your magazine’s recent review of Jason Ringenberg’s A Day At The Farm With Farmer Jason CD [ND #48] in regard to the writer’s reference to the farm animals mentioned in the songs and “what really happens to them”. I think he needs to lighten up a little bit. Animals have been “humanized” for years in cartoons, movies, Sesame Street, Captain Kangaroo — the list is endless — and I can’t ever recall hearing a critical analysis that worried about the fact that the kids enjoying this stuff are not being told “the real truth” about what really happens to a lot of these animals. I haven’t heard any complaints about The Lion King and the fact that it is not really a factual representation of how lions interact with their fellow jungle creatures (which would be eating most of them).
The songs on Ringenberg’s new CD are written for children (of all ages), and as such I don’t think he really needs to go into the details of the real purpose the hogs, cows and chickens serve on a farm — at least the ones that aren’t there for their eggs or milk. There’s plenty of time for the kids to learn what a cold, cruel world they really live in (as if that will stop them from begging Mom to stop at McDonald’s).
— Mike Bawolski
[Ed. note: Um, we’re pretty sure the writer’s intention was tongue-in-cheek. But we’re printing your letter just in case…]