The Flip Side by Bernie Cyrus

(LMC logo designed by Glen Clark of Lafayette.)

LOUISIANA MUSIC COMMISSION
3330 N. Causeway Blvd. Suite 438
Metairie LA 70002
Phone: 504-838-5600
Fax: 504-838-5280

Email: lmc@louisianamusic.org
Updated 11/24/98 11:00AM CST
Ellis L. Marsalis Jr.
CHAIRMAN

Bernie Cyrus
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Steve Picou
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR


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The following is the inaugural column "The Flip Side" by Bernie Cyrus appearing monthly in Northlske magazine published by Catherine Goux. Northlake can be reached at PO Box 916 Madisonville LA 70447, Phone: 504-845-9933. Bernie will contribute the column monthly.
November 1998

The Flip Side

by Bernie Cyrus

 As I pondered New Orleans city leaders' and community activists visit to Cleveland to learn about that city's turnaround, I remembered an article published in the Times-Picayune in 1986 in which I pointed out how Cleveland defeated New Orleans in the battle for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and that one day we would regret that loss. Now a napkin holds a pledge for a future hall of fame. Funny how none of the civic leaders involved in this recent junket participated in the earlier efforts to snare what could've been this city's biggest musical attraction.

Music is a clean industry. It enhances our cultural, educational and recreational assets. It rewards our souls. New Orleans, as the birthplace of America's music, is recognized as one of the greatest music cities in the world. It is the mother of all American cities when it comes to music. Yet, we sorely neglect this reputation and resource by failing to effectively teach music in our schools, and failing to properly honor and memorialize music in our greatest city.

Music has propelled Cleveland to a windfall of money and improved image with just one project--the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This major attraction should've and could've been built in New Orleans where it's earliest inductees were born and still reside. To date, more New Orleanians have been inducted than from any other city--Louis Armstrong, Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, Allen Toussaint, Lloyd Price, and hopefully, in the future such greats as the Nevilles, Dr. John, Frankie Ford, Irma Thomas, Jessie Hill, Frogman Henry, Oliver Morgan and more.

Many of us have great ideas and work hard to see to it that music's place in our hearts, minds and economy is properly honored. However, no one from our music industry was invited on that trip to Cleveland. And today, we have no concrete plans to develop a major music museum to honor our immense music legacy--only a pledge on a napkin. I've got a message for our politicians and civic leaders who've now seen the light. We in the music industry have known all along what really drives our economy in this area: It's the music, stupid!


December 1998

The Flip Side

by Bernie Cyrus

It's a drizzly Sunday morning in the heart of Old Covington--just perfect for a walk through Walter's Garden. The air is fresh and the pine trees sparkle in the mist. Stepping inside the doorway, I decide to add my own element of atmosphere. I put on some music to fulfill this serenity and inspire the soul. It's too early to rock, too calm to get funky, and too casual for classical. After thumbing through CDs, I look to my coffee table and find the answer--enchanting folk music recorded right here in St. Tammany.

According to the liner notes of Walter's Garden, a recent release of Rose Anne Bivins and local attorney and arts patron Nikki Barringer, the Abita Music Company was the place of birth for this piece of beautifully woven lyrics and voice, coupled with excellent acoustic instrumentation. The CD even includes a sultry saxophone by veteran musician and old friend Jerry Embree, who appeared on my first TV show and recently released his own CD.

The title cut centers around a guy named Walter who gets busted and sent to jail for harvesting a sweet-smelling and questionable crop of local produce. I found this most interesting since songwriter Nikki Barringer is also attorney Nikki Barringer, who shares office space with former U.S. Attorney John Volz. (However, attorney Nikki Barringer looks more like a 60's peace activist than an associate of a noted country barrister.)

The CD is indeed a tribute to the art of folk music. Rose Anne Bivens' soft gentle delivery is a pleasure to the ears. Her songs are compelling, especially her tribute to my native city of New Orleans.

"Dawlins," another song penned by Barringer, captures the heart of this ninth ward boy with a romantic spell that beckons my memory.

I don't think a finer piece of work could be found in the record store. Whether you're a grown-up child of the sixties or a retired U.S. Attorney, their music is the epitome of American Folklore and the thread that holds together our multi-colored quilt of culture.

Everyone should escape to Walter's Garden and stay as long as possible, especially on a fine misty morning.



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Louisiana Music Commission
3330 N. Causeway Blvd. Suite 438
Metairie LA 70002
Phone: 504-838-5600 Fax: 504-838-5280

Email: lmc@louisianamusic.org