Letters: Reflecting On Music And A Correction

Listeners react to The Greatest Music Stories Never Told, the interview about the girlfriend of Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger and Susan Stamberg's reunion with with Stef Scaggiari. Guest host Linda Wertheimer reads listeners' letters.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, host: Time now for your letters. Last week, I talked to Rick Beyer about his new book, "The Greatest Music Stories Never Told." One of those stories was about "Hail to the Chief."

RICK BEYER: That song was from a musical in the early 1800s, an English musical of Walter Scott's "Lady of the Lake." The chief is actually a Scottish chieftain. Roderick Dhu, I think is his name.


WERTHEIMER: One of our listeners, Jean Kennett of Duxbury, Massachusetts, was already familiar with Mr. Dhu. She writes: My younger sister and I remember our Scottish grandmother calling my sister Roderick Dhu when she was being stubborn to the point of a hissy fit. It was a real treat to learn that "Hail to the Chief" refers to that character.

Last week, I spoke with reporter Christine Pelisek at the Daily Beast about Catherine Greig, who spent 16 years on the run with Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger. There was an error in that interview. Pelisek said Greig is a graduate of Northwestern University in Illinois. In fact, Greig attended Northeastern University in Boston.

While we received several letters upbraiding us for that mistake, many others said we were boobs for allowing something else to get on the air. C.J. Stern(ph), of New York City, writes: I just heard the story about mobster girlfriend Catherine Greig. She referred to Ms. Greig's boob jobs. They are called breasts. What kind of adolescent reporter is Ms. Pelisek?

Several others pointed out that our own software should've given us a clue about whether the description was in bad taste. With respect to my email, this has to be seen to be believed, writes William Rice of Tupelo, Mississippi. When I tried to send it with the full spelling of the slang word used by your reporter, referring to the breast, your email filter would not accept it due to inappropriate language. Case closed.

Many listeners enjoyed Susan Stamberg's reunion two weeks ago with Stef Scaggiari. He played live piano on WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY when it started in 1987, with Susan hosting. Lisa Wilson of Huntington Beach, California, writes: I confess that while listening to WEEKEND EDITION at home, I tune in and out as I also browse the newspaper headlines and make my breakfast. This morning, Stef Scaggiari's rendition of Stephen Foster's "Hard Times Come Again No More" made me stop what I was doing and just listen. What a beautiful moment.


STEF SCAGGIARI: (Singing) Whoa, hard times come again no more.

WERTHEIMER: We want to hear from you. Go to NPR.org, and click on the link that says Contact Us. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook at NPR Weekend. This is NPR News.

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