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September 13, 1969 - Image 2

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-09-13

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Page Ttiir

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Saturday, September 13, 1969

Puge ~ THE MICHIGAN DAILY Saturday, September 1 3, 1 969

_- music'

A resurrected, be (tern ever, Spider

John

By DANIEL ZWiERDLING
Oyez oyez, Canterbury House
resurrects Spider John Koerner
this weekend replete with
honky tonk piano, bass and
guitar and electrified contrap-
tions on the acoustic he used to
strum alone while on a bare
wooden stool. Spider John be-
gan easing from his lone status
into, working with piano ac-
companist Wil1lie Murphy
about two years ago -
they played together in town
last year. But his new group
is still young enough after six
months to be fresh and some-
times a little struggling and not
yet sure enough to bask in the
stale glow of complacent musi-
cal success - which makes it
good and still full of potential,
Spider John claims his ar-
rangements differ little from
last year -- but they sounded
different to me and I loved
them. The old Koerner -- not
quite folk and not quite be-
tween honky tonk and good
booze singing - was simpler.
less complicated, less concerned
with rhythm shifts and harmon-
ic breaks, more predictable. Now
with a piano and bass and
drums, Koerner can afford to
live freer, to experiment.
"I wanted to go to a band be-
cause the music I wanted to
make was fuller," says John.
"Not in quantity of instru-
rnnts, but in the types of music
wve could do with it." Part of
the sacrifice is,' the group has
to play from arrangements -
piano rifts and guitar breaks
have to be scheduled. And so
if the whole group isn't precisely
together, the songs don't work.
But when the group does more
together, tight, it's more fun,
more sophisticated, more throb-
bing than the music Koerner
made before.
Spider John writes all his own
songs - Willie Murphy does
the arrangements - and some
of them surpass any of the vo-
dee-oh-do tunes the Beatles
have played since the last dou-
ble album. "The Tender and
Lovely Ballad of Bill and An-
nie" succeeded with some es-
pecially good singing by Koer-
ner and Murphy and with effrc-
tive breaks in the music which
signaled new shifts in the song's
plot. This is a device the Beatles
use - and some of the octave
harmony, and rhythm chang-
es sounded like Koerner has
listened to them a lot.

"Ballad" and other of Koer-
ner's songs reflect the little
bboy look of aimless loneliness
that seems to envelop him on
stage-as if Koerner is always
saying "wellll sheeeet."
"Don't let the bastards wear
you down don't let them hassle
and frazzle you cause, they're
full of beans anyway," he sings.
Boy and girl, meant for each-
other, finally meet-and then
don't like eachother. End.
"Black Dog Blues" the only
song in their repertoire which
Koerner didn't write, features
some fine full chord piano work
by Willie Murphy. The acoustics
at Canterbury House were not
designed for electric bands; and
since Koerner's band is so new
they still haven't worked out
a balance which works. It was
difficult to understand Koer-
ner's words - when he and
Murphy sang, it sounded like
they were singing through a
buzz tone kazoo. And Murphy's
piano work was often lost in
acoustical muddle.
Koerner, Murphy, and his bass
Bruce Menier and drummer Bob
Grenier will stay the weekend
at Canterbury. It's worth the
two dollars and your time for
their singing and Canterbury's
expanded assortment of tasty
cookies. You can catch Koerner
on his new album-or see him
alone at the Triangle Bar in
Minneapolis. But it would
be better to hear the
whole group at Canterbury now
- because when they're to-
gether and in the music. Koer'-
ner and his group make ter'-
rific music.
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Sept. 15, 8 P.M., 3A

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SHAKESPEARE'S

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SEPT. 16-OCT. 28, 1969

t
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y '{
:
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-

WHARI) L* ks , I , () N

Directed by
Ellis Rabb

' 1

A~d WO~AN

ACADOU,'Y
A WAR DS j
WINNER j

SLWE'P 30-00'. 12
Directed by
John Houseman

THE AMERICAN PREMIERE
of
Ghe/der~ode 9s

+"

"A wihiff Ofsatic~ual sulphuir"
by the author of the APA hit "Pantagleice" "

Next: "HOTEL OZONE"

IJ2T~dBirYIOUSB
Look y-Look!
SPIDER JOHN KOERNER
andr
WILLIE MURPHY

plus "PL.AY" by Samuel Beckett
n x,, r ,' -

(IISTPE Wii~pi~ \AIKEN
P\TRICK HINES

NOEL COWARD'S

I TAMMY GRIMES

WWWW;vg

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