Saunders: Divas leave us hangin'

Staff WriterJanuary 5, 2012 

Boy, I sure hope Aretha doesn't do to Willie what she's done to her Triangle fans four times now - leave him standing at the altar.

Aretha Franklin recently announced plans to marry for the third time, this time to longtime beau William "Willie" Wilkerson.

Say, homes. You should hold off on renting that tux until you actually see Ree Ree strolling down the aisle and hear the orchestra playing "Oh Promise Me."

That's what we should do, too, before spending a dime to hear her at the DPAC or anyplace else. If history has taught us anything, it's that Aretha showing up even after you get your hair done and buy tickets and a new outfit to see her is an iffy proposition.

Following in the footsteps of the so-called Queen of Soul - can we honestly call her that as long as Etta James is still alive? - is the queen of coal.

Loretta Lynn, the "Coal Miner's Daughter," has yet again postponed her scheduled Durham Performing Arts Center performance. The October show was postponed, due to illness, until Jan. 8. That show has now been postponed until sometime in April, said DPAC marketing director Rachel Gragg.

Franklin "has postponed on us only once," Gragg said, but three other times she has left Triangle fans who bought tickets to see her drowning in their own tears. She was less than a do-right woman when she canceled twice at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary and once at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Her show has been rescheduled to Feb. 9, but in the words of the immortal Fats Waller, "one never knows, do one?"

The problem could be that, since Loretta is a septuagenarian and Aretha soon will be, they may simply be succumbing to the natural ravages of time and age.

Don't think I'm just picking on the ladies, ladies. Divatude - a word N&O music writer David Menconi used in a piece about Aretha and Loretta - is not the sole province of women. Some male performers are also known for stiffing audiences.

Take George Jones, the third-greatest country music singer ever - behind Hank Williams Sr. and Lefty Frizzell. Jones was so famous for postponing shows, often with no warning, that he became known as "No-Show Jones." His other nickname, "Possum," was supposedly derived from his penchant for acting drunk - playing possum - to get out of performing once he did show up.

Aretha Franklin and Loretta Lynn are music legends who don't deserve to be picked on. Perhaps, though, they should kick off their high heels - or white cowgirl boots - and just rest on their laurels before tarnishing their legends with these prolific postponements. That way, fans can simply pull out their old albums, crack open a bottle of something strong - Aretha's best work goes good with brown liquor, the kind you drink when you're heartbroken - and remember them at their best.

C'mon, ladies. All we want is a little R-E-S-... aw, you know the rest.

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