There appears to have been a second small controversy over remarks delivered at the podium at Sunday night's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. At least this time it didn't involve anyone's penis.
Before Mr. Rhythm Man, who spins stacks o' shellacks every Saturday night on WNKU (89.7 FM), presented the award for R&B/Funk, he offered his thoughts on the past and future of King Records, which was a major topic throughout the evening's event. Earlier in the day a historical marker had been unveiled at the former King studio and offices in Evanston, followed by a reception to celebrate a proposed new King studio and community center being developed by Xavier University, Ultrasuede owner John Curley and others.
Mr. Rhythm Man opined that, instead of spending any more money to save and memorialize the old King facility on Brewster Avenue, city officials should pour funds into the next generation of Cincinnati musicians who can be helped via a "reborn" King Records. He focused his plea on City Councilman John Cranley, who spearheaded the city's contribution of money toward the Brewster Avenue historical marker and getting Ralph Stanley to play CEA event (Cranley also was an award presenter at the CEAs).
When Mr. Rhythm Man suggested the city "let this old building fall down," apparently some audience members thought he was referring to the Emery Theatre, site of the CEAs. Others thought he was being too hard on Cranley.
Mr. Rhythm Man has written to explain it all:
"Congratulations to everyone who worked on the CEAs. It was great to be back in the Emery, and Bootsy's set was very cool. Thanks for having me.
I got an e-mail from an interested party the day after the CEAs asking if I 'took a shot' at John Cranley. Here's my spin: Cranley announced at the CEAs that as a city councilman he will get a resolution passed, or something like that, so that the King building 'will never be torn down.' My point was that he missed the point. The focus/energy should be on the new King building to benefit the community, which a lot of good people are working on.
Rick Bird's article in CityBeat said the old King building is not usable. I was in there that day James Brown checked it out 10 to 12 years ago, and there's no 'there' there anymore.
I suggested letting the building fall down and auction off the pieces — each brick or whatever could be designated as representing a King/Queen/Federal etc. record. So there would be one brick that was inscribed, for example, '60 Minute Man' by The Dominoes, another brick a record by the Stanley Brothers and so on.
I was moved that there are people who still keep the faith and care enough to have a $12 million dream for a new King studio. It's a feeling I heard when some of the award-winners joyfully shouted, 'Obama !'
So when John Cranley said his thing, it bummed me out. It just sounded like he didn't get it. I wouldn't say I took a shot at him, and anyway I think the crowd liked his idea more than mine!
Peace, love, soul,
Mr. Rhythm Man"
Stayed tuned for further CEA controversies as they develop. Next: Where are the missing port-o-lets?
Interested in remembering the day's historic events, the CEAs and the CEA Afterparty? Tons of photos here.