From Our Listeners

Letters: Thanks for 'Shades of Praise'

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Susan Stamberg reads e-mail from listeners. Topics include a thank-you for a story on the New Orleans gospel group Shades of Praise and a bit of criticism for botching the song title "Thanks for the Memories."


Time now for your letters.

Our conversation with Hemingway biographer Jeffrey Meyers about The Old Man and the Sea spurred a letter from Bill Lamp in Leesburg, Georgia. I found it interesting to hear that the critic downgraded The Old Man and the Sea because of the obviousness of some of the meaning. I have to ask the question, since when does obscurity count towards greatness? Isn't possible, Mr. Lamp continues, that the art of writing, painting, photography, etcetera, involves creating a piece in which others can see a meaning that fits them as individuals? If that is the case, what is obvious to one can be a hidden mystery to others.

Rocky Finnan(ph) in New Albany, Pennsylvania, writes, I have experienced many, many NPR driveway moments. But last Saturday morning, on my way to work, I was blessed with John Burnett's story about the New Orleans choir, Shades of Praise. I'm a member of my local church choir and I cried; cried for the joy of being able to hear their music, cried for the suffering they have endured, cried for joy for the fellowship and the family that they have in their lives. Mr. Finnan continues, As I sit typing this, again, tears running down my face, I realize that we are all members of a greater community.

And finally, this from Steve Warrona of Rockville, Maryland: No. No. No. No. No. In a conversation about Oscar-winning songs, Mr. Warrona heard me say thanks for the memories. Bob Hope's signature song was called Thanks for the Memory, singular not plural.

Thanks for that correction, Mr. Warrona. Now we get to play it again.

(Soundbite of song Thanks for the Memory)

STAMBERG: And industrious listener Warrona points out another common musical memory lapse, the Oscar-winning song, The Way We Were, sung by one Barbara Striesand, begins with the word, memories.

(Soundbite of song The Way We Were)

STAMBERG: But wouldn't you know it, the S's disappear when Babs sings this Andrew Lloyd Webber song from Cats.

(Soundbite of song Memories)

STAMBERG: Thank you, Barbara, talk amongst yourselves. And you must remember this: if we are a hit or miss, write to us. Go to and click on Contact Us. We'll be happy to hear from you.

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