Opinion – 3/7/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 7, 2003

The Panolian Editorial

For additional opinions and articles,
pick up the 3/7/03  issue of The Panolian

Still Cool After All These Years

Cher is too cool.

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I’m really glad I did not pass up the opportunity to see her Living Proof Farewell Tour stop this week at The Pyramid in Memphis.

The place was packed and Cher did not disappoint with quite a performance. Needless to say, her costuming was great. I wish I had counted how many times she changed outfits.

Getting there early gave me the opportunity to do lots of people watching – something else that didn’t disappoint.

There was everyone from an Elvis impersonator (‘old’ Elvis in a white jumpsuit) to folks in metallic ‘Cher’ wigs, feather boas and on and on.

People watching also brought home the message that I am aging. If we’re not dead, we all are. But I don’t like for the message to be sent so realistically and in such numbers.

I don’t feel like I am. Aging, that is. Except for when I get stiff after I sit a bit too long and how I’m not as strong as I used to be and …

What I really mean is … in my brain I don’t feel like I’m aging.

That’s except for when I can’t remember, but that doesn’t count for the purposes of this conversation.

Back to Cher.

I remember getting my first Sonny and Cher album.

Al Bennett, then president of Liberty Records, sent it to me along with a number of other albums.
That was exciting. I still remember getting the box.

Al was from my home town and he and his wife were friends of my mother.

The story goes that Al went to work in a record store and saw there was money to be made … and he eventually ended up at Liberty

I’m sure many of you are familiar with that high-pitch-voiced chipmunk named Alvin. That character was named for Al.

Liberty also had a popular 45 record called "National City." It was an instrumental tune and hit No. 1 in some markets.

I don’t know who recorded it but Al had it labeled that it was by the Joiner, Ark., junior or high school band. I can’t remember which. And, it wasn’t, of course. Our small school didn’t even have a band.

Needless to say, our school got lots of telephone calls from around the country about the "phantom" band.

Al bought farm land back home, would come visit often and his children did, too. Though the youngsters were products of California, they seemed to enjoy coming to the Delta.

He was a good man. I remember well the brick home he built for his mother. The story goes that he tried to get her to quit keeping chickens and letting them run loose in her yard. But she never did.

Sitting in the Cher concert I thought about opening that box of albums. It seems like just the other day … not over 35 years ago.

(Kate Dickson can be reached by email at: editor@panolian.com)