Letters to the Editor October 2017

“Muskat?” Oh, Man!

To the Editor:

I’m currently reading the September issue of Syncopated Times, where in the “Jazz Jottings” column I found mention of Kid Ory’s “Muskat Ramble.”

Hot Jazz Jubile

By coincidence, I’ve been working on a project for the Potomac River Jazz Club to scan the earlier issues of their newsletter, “Tailgate Ramblings,” to PDF so they can post them on their web site. So I remembered the September 1974 issue, which contained research by Ed Fishel on that Ory composition. And I also remembered my own research years later when I was working on the “Tune Titles and Composers” index for Stomp Off. It’s definitely “Muskrat Ramble.”

If you’d like to see the entire Stomp Off index, which covers all the 3,836 titles that appeared on Stomp Off, you can find it at my Stomp Off page at stompoff.dickbaker.org/

Dick Baker
[email protected]


Muskat, Oman
Muskat, Oman, may not be the bluesiest destination to ramble to.

That is a regrettable error. I have no one to blame but my proofreader, who requires new glasses. I don’t pay him enough for the frames he’d really like, so we’ll all suffer under his myopia a while longer. Consider though that Muskat (alternate spelling) is not only the capital of Oman, but is a variety of grape used to make raisins. Coincidentally, there is a song called “Road Raisins,” written by the editor of this publication. That song, sad to say, does not sound very much like “Muskrat Ramble,” or even “Muskat Ramble.” It has a minor strain that is almost unbearable. – Ed.

For the Birds

To the Editor:

I want you to take me off your mailing list. I don’t get enough out of the publication that is interesting and I never have. I don’t want the publication anymore please stop sending it and advertising it through the mails. Only the bird down the street like it because it gives him something to crap on but I don’t want to spend my money just for that. He gets plenty of newspapers from me to decorate his master’s floor.

Lawrence L. Cannon
Portland, Oregon

Providing a biodegradable, multi-function recyclable product is part of our Green Initiative. By sharing your monthly copy of The Syncopated Times and finding other uses for it, you’re helping to reduce our cumulative carbon footprint. Birds do love it, and for the reasons you’d suspect. They act as a natural Oxford Comma Remover, thus reducing the impact on our environment that the use of toxic chemicals for that purpose would occasion. We’re committed to saving the planet, one newspaper at a time. – Ed.

Kind Words and a Renewal

To the Editor:

Enclosed please find my check for another year of Syncopated Times. I was not intending to re-up my subscription for several reasons. The main one being that l just don’t feel connected to the trad jazz scene anymore. What changed my mind was the re-publishing of Eli Newberger’s review of the Hot Sardines. The task of writing a bad review is very difficult and Eli did an excellent and spot on job without making it mean spirited. I think that it shines a light on just what’s wrong with traditional jazz today and I hope that it will make people think.

John Gill
Banjoist, The Yerba Buena Stompers

Thank you. I meant to reply personally to your kind note long before now. I appreciate your confidence in this paper—in that it will continue to get better. It may be quixotic to uphold standards—and I don’t just mean selections in the Great American Songbook—but that’s part of the job I took on as publisher. I seriously don’t want to promote anybody who isn’t working at the top of their ability to play the best traditional and hot jazz possible and to keep the music vital. – Ed.


Where’s the Phone Number?

To the Editor:

Enclosed is my check for $30.00 for a one-year subscription through August 2018. Strangely, your phone number is not printed on the Publisher’s Information page; would you please provide it?
Thanks for taking over for The American Rag; I enjoy The Syncopated Times and keeping up on jazz festival info and stories about the musicians.

Jim Reynolds
Culver City, California


Thank you for your renewal—and for your kind words.

I’ve received numerous comments about our “secret” phone number (which you’ll find on page 4, by the way). I wish I had more time to chat, but this is a one-person office—and I’m the guy. What I can offer is this: when I do get an assistant within the next few months, I’ll publish our telephone number more prominently. – Ed. 

Update: Our phone number is now prominently published, (315) 507-5490, not surprisingly the business phone sits on the desk of the Associate Editor. – Ed.

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