VOL. 132 | NO. 55 | Friday, March 17, 2017
Last Word: James Cotton, A Quiet Jackson Day in Memphis and 'A Football School'
By Bill Dries
When you think of the blues and harmonica – James Cotton probably comes to mind – Sonny Boy Williamson too, who taught Cotton how to play.
Cotton died Thursday in Austin, Texas at the age of 81 in a life that began on a cotton farm in Tunica in the depths of the Great Depression. He was 18 when his first record came out on Sun Records, a year before Elvis Presley came to Union and Marshall. By then Cotton had already become an apprentice to Williamson and was a veteran of sneaking into Beale Street nightspots. By the age of 20 he was an integral part of the legendary band that toured and recorded with Muddy Waters. He was part of Waters’ break through at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival, a performance recorded in what is a seminal and early live blues album. And that was just the beginning. Cotton released his final album just four years ago.
Here is Rolling Stone on Cotton’s passing.
Works of art that portray political figures and leaders seldom register well as artistic achievement. In fact they seem to be monument rather than art and never the two together. Sometimes, as is the case of the Andrew Jackson bust in the courthouse, they appear to reflect the controversy that remains long after the politician is gone. That is what we found during a very small and very traditional observance Wednesday of the 250th anniversary of Jackson’s birth.
Donald Trump was the third sitting U.S. president to visit the Hermitage. The other two being Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan. And the day after Trump’s Wednesday visit much of the discussion was about how alike or how unalike Trump and Jackson are. The comparison tends to depend on which side of the partisan aisle those expressing the opinion are on, our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard, found. But it’s where the minds of a lot of people went even if it was to say there is no comparison – interesting.
Elsewhere in the Tennessee Legislature, state Senate majority leader Mark Norris of Collierville says he has problems with fellow Shelby County Senator Brian Kelsey’s school voucher bill. One of those problems is the massive and vocal opposition to the proposal from local elected leaders across party lines. That’s not sarcasm. The Legislature as a whole has a problem passing a bill into law that affects one part of the state, as Kelsey’s bill does with a pilot voucher program for Shelby County, when there is less than unanimous support among local leaders in the area affected.
The House approves a bill that makes it legal to carry a loaded gun in a boat but there is an out for boat owners who specifically and in writing forbid guns on their boats.
The leaders of the House and Senate are about to review the public records law for Tennessee with an eye specifically on the exemptions to what is considered a public record. This is a review with the intent of examining whether all of these specific exemptions are necessary. The review will be through the 2018 session.
Meanwhile, local Republicans have quite a primary skirmish on the road to filling the vacant District 95 state House seat that Mark Lovell gave up in February. There were seven contenders in the April special election primary at Thursday’s filing deadline
Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson and SCS board chairman Chris Caldwell are our guests on "Behind The Headlines." We have much to talk about including the voucher bill, “critical focus” schools, ESSA and a budget proposal that is a milestone for Hopson’s four-year tenure as superintendent. The show airs Friday at 7 p.m. on WKNO TV.
The cover story of our weekly, The Memphis News, by Andy Meek, is a kind of state of the mall review 20 years after the opening of Wolfchase Galleria, the city’s largest and most recent shopping mall – perhaps the last of its kind in a 50-year time frame but undeniably a retail force with an impact beyond Cordova.
The PDF of the new issue is up now on this website. The hard copies of the new edition hit the streets Friday morning. The cover story goes up on line Friday afternoon.
The Daily News is getting a new neighbor. Allworld Project Management is about to start renovation just off the corner of B.B King Boulevard and Jefferson Ave. on the building that faces B.B. King. Allworld was approved earlier this week for an exterior improvement grant from the Center City Development Corp.
In our Friday Sports Section:
With the Tigers basketball season now mercifully over, Don Wade says it’s time to make it official – the University of Memphis is a football school.
With that in mind, here comes spring football at the U of M and the Memphis defense will be the focus of much attention in that spring, first without pads and then with pads.
David Climer looks at the folly of Butch Jones shaking up his football staff at the Big Orange.
Dave Link in Knoxville says spring football for UT will be without a lot of familiar faces on the field. That’s not just coaches but players.
Reaction at week’s end from top bond-fund managers to the Fed’s decision to up the benchmark interest rate.