Leslie was better
Thanks for the article about Sam Phillips ["Born again," September 5]. I met her in Sherman in 1983 when she opened for Petra. Even then, she had a passion I'd never seen before. (Bono comes closest.) The song I remember most was "Bring Me Through."

I became an instant fan. Later, as music director at my college radio station, I gave her songs regular air play between artists like The Call, The Alarm, U2, and Bruce Cockburn, among others. Yes, her album's production values were lousy, but what's remembered most about U2's Boy--the passion or the production values?

It's always nice to hear how she's doing. But after every article I read about her, I'm happy and disappointed. As Leslie Phillips [before changing her name to Sam Phillips] she never had any idea about the impact she made on people during her stint in contemporary Christian music. To completely discount her entire pre-"pop" career, as she does in every interview, is saddening to those of us whose lives she touched.

If she admits to not finding life's answers during that period, she sure did help others find theirs. Granted, describing Michael W. Smith and his ilk as "bland" is putting it mildly; there is rampant mediocrity and hypocrisy in that genre, and she has every right to feel the way she does. For her to even be compared to Amy Grant is, talentwise, an absolute insult.

However, the degree to which she and hubby T Bone attempt to deny her past--and are repulsed at simply being labeled "Christian"--is more disturbing than the degree to which she hasn't a clue of the lives she influenced.

Most artists never want to actually find the truth they claim to be seeking in their music. Lonely is that Christian artist who stands alone and makes music worthy enough to be called great, while at the same time shouting out his or her belief in God, strongly and unashamedly. Except for Brent Bourgeois, no one's achieving it these days in contemporary Christian music. But not that long ago, someone did, consistently: Leslie Phillips. I miss her. I could use a lot less of Sam Phillips.

David Sparks

Meanspirited? Laura?
Laura Miller is way off base this time ["Daddy dearest," August 15]. Myesha is Michael [Irvin]'s daughter and deserves to be included with his family. Why is this proof that his marriage is "obviously a lot more twisted than anybody realized?"

Labeling her "the illegitimate love child" is cruel and meanspirited. There are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents.

Jeanne Grissom

Dough enough
The article ["No dough," August 29] is one-sided, since you couldn't get any comments from Bank of America.

If [Richard Williams'] business was so cash poor, why did he have a secretary and a manager? How did he manage to put away enough money to send a kid to school? Why not send the kid to a community college for a year, and put the money back into the company?

If he had three loans totaling $155,000, where did it all go? If the company was closing in on $1 million in volume, why couldn't it live off of that? What did he use to back up all the loans? In other words, what was his collateral?

If he was such a good businessman, and thought he was right, why didn't he fight the lawsuit with Cedar Ridge, and not end up with a judgment [against him] for $46,721?

Maybe if the real truth be known, [Williams] might have been a good baker, but a poor businessman. The bank didn't want to lend any more money based on the information it had. Maybe this is not a black/white issue.

Rino Fabrizi

Stale critics
Your reviews are lousy of late. In the review of Striptease, Arnold Wayne Jones suggests that Burt Reynolds is "too arrogant to acknowledge the ironic parallels" implied by self-parody in his has-been womanizer of a character.

On the next page, speaking of Buddy Love, Jones wonders, "Is Murphy criticizing his own image [a has-been womanizer], or is the irony completely lost on him?" He then chastises The Nutty Professor's director, Tom Shadyac, for resorting to "awful Jerry Lewisesque contrivances."

As if it wasn't enough to slam two different actors in exactly the same manner, in panning Damn Yankees, Jimmy Fowler focuses his sights on Lewis, and refers to the "self-delusional hubris" of New York critics.

What about the mindless self-repetition of Dallas critics bereft of original thought? Are they slyly commenting on a stale newsweekly, or is the irony lost on them?

Matthew Jackson

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