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March 20, 1966 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1966-03-20
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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A

CASUAL SURVEY

Rock and V
By CHARLOTTE WOLTER
"IT ALL BEGAN when four mop-haired
lads came from Liverpool, England. .."
is the inevitable beginning of the fan
magazine analysis of the recent boom in
pop music. But it didn't begin with the
Beatles, nor with Bill Haley and His
Comets when they r e c o r d e d "Rock
Around the Clock" (the first recognized
rock and roll song), nor with the rhythm
and blues of John Lee Hooker or Chuck
Berry. The flashy, exciting music of the
Beatles and the other groups, British and
American, who follow is the fruit of an
American musical tradition that icans
heavily on the grim cultural heritalo, of
the Negro in this country.
The current styles that have evolvd c
from this tradition can be roughly d:vid-
ed into three categories; Rock and Roll
(incorporating its earlier form, rhythm
and blues) which is by far the lai st:
Folk-Rock; and the Blues.
American popular music had gone into
a decline aft-r the payola scandals ef the
late fifties. Superficiality and childish-
neas "Baby Talk". "Shorty Shorts") pre-
vailed and little was being offered from
the solid tradition of rhythm and blues.
The sudden popularity of the British
{roups, then, was no accident. Most had
worked together for several years'uy-
ing and absorbin, the important fi'; res
of American rhythm and blues and rack
and roll. They added :some up-wm, o
rhythms, mixtures of specific styles ,'d
modern harmonies, plus an exhuberant
sta'e manner: all of which combined to
make this new, driving rock sound (Beat-
ties' "1 Want to Hold Your Hand) par-
ticularly appealing to eager British and
American youth.
N AMERICA, at approximately the
same time, the Motown Sound-The
Su'remes, The Four Tops, Mary Wells-
originated in Detroit. a big band jazz
sound with a rock and roll beat. A few
American groups such as the Beau
Brummels "Just A Little") successfully
ad-pted the same style as the Enlish
performers. Chuck 'Berry and o t h e r
"Souther, Rock" artists regained popu-
larity. The Byrds recorded "Tambourine
Man" by Bob Dylan. and Dylan, himself,
chano'ed his style radically, employing
amplified instruments and a full band
acco'm>animent.
And, the increased interest in pop
music was not limited to their perfor-
mance by the most successful groups. In-
spired partly by the apparent ease of suc-
cess. but even more by the excitement of
the music, innumerable local groups, of
which Ann Arbor has many, formed.
practiced. perhaps managed to get jobs,
and dreamed of the future.
Ori4ins
The origin of this music is largely in
the reli ious, work and love songs of the
Negro in America. The Negro was. a

o1l . . . Blues . .
From Where?
To Where?
stranger in a strange land, a slave and,
eventually, an outcast from society. His
music combines his African heritage with
English and French musical forms, but
the most important element was the
grim daily experience of the Negro as
slave, as slum dweller, or as sharecropper.
A multitude of styes developed from
the Negro cultural base. First, there were
the "field hollers", rhythmic work songs
that incorporate the puffing and the
sweat of field labor. At the same time,
litany-like hymns, English words chant-
ed much in the African manner, were
sung as the Negro was "Christianized."
Later, instruments were acquired or
made (the banjo is an example, develop-
ed in place of the expensive and more
complicated guitar), giving the music
more rhythmic and tonal variety. The
gospel song was refined and sophisticated.
Finally, the blues, as a distinct form ap-
peared, telling in terms of ironic humor
and existential d'spair and bitterness, the
story of the "emancipated" Negro in ur-
ban slums and on sharecropper farms.
From this basis emerged Dixieland jazz,
swing, rhythm and blues, Southern rock,
rock and roll, and more.
Roc and Roll
AFTER THE New York-London coro-
nation of The Beatles, rock and roll
took a new turn. Along came groups like
the Rolling Stones ("Satisfaction," "The
Last Time") who concentrated on South-
ern Rock a la Chuck Berry in addition to
some of their own, impressionistic com-
positions, and the Animals, ("House of
the Rising Sun," "It's My Life") who bor-
rowed from rhythm and blues- and old
jazz styles.
In each case, however, there is an ob-
vious effort to do more than just change
the Negro forms to make them accessible
to white audiences (as had been the case
when jazz was popularized). While they
are expected to be fully in command of
the traditional style, the new groups
were making personal. statements, based
on their own experience and relevant to
the social milieu of the day.
Local rock and roll groups are general-
ly notorious for their short careers and
poor quality. Ann Arbor, however, seems
to have been made for the encourage-
ment of rock groups and the local mar-
ket is flourishing. All types can be found,
ranging from the well-meaning efforts of
a few clean-cut fraternity brothers to.
some surprisingly slick work by high
school students, to the shaggy, somewhat
calculated decadence of others. They go
by such cavalier names as ,The Moving
Violations, Iguana and the Iguanas, The
Drivin' Wheels, the Vanguards, The Bea-
vers and The Hide aways.

.Folk-Rock
THE FRATERNITY or quad dance is
their mainstay, and to the lucky ones
go the chances to appear out of town at
the big teen clubs, or, the ultimate, to
cut a record or be on local television.
They constantly change. personnel and
names looking for the magic combination
that brings SUCCESS. Meanwhile, they
faithfully reproduce the current Top Ten
every Saturday night.
Despite some amateurism, the work
done by many of the groups is quite good,
and the competition between them is be-
coming keen. Perhaps the best known
of the campus groups are the Marksmen
and the Bushmen. Although they stick
fairly closely to recent popular tunes,
they perform them with their own ar-
rangements a n d occasionally include
vintage or unusual (rock and roll) songs.
One high school group, The Rationals,
has been successful enough to make a re-
cording (called "Feelin' Lost") and ap-
pear often on a Detroit television station.
THE BRIGHTEST SPOT- on the Ann
Arbor rock and roll scene is Deon
Jackson whose recent recording, "Love
Makes the World Go Around," which he
composed, sold nearly a million copies.
He also has his own rock group, The Ar-
borsouls who, in contrast with other local
groups, have attempted to develop an
original style using their own composi-
tions.
The strongest criticism that can be
made of most of these groups is that they
lack originality, not musical talent. Yet,
if one has nothing better to offer, one
plays what the audience demands.
Also -there is little room in an already
glutted market for their work, and, while
the rock and roll boom has by no means
burned itself out, other trends may soon
equal its popularity.
folk-sock
SOME CALL IT the wave of the future;
others say it is a sell-out to the
images and trappings of success; others
think it the psychoanalytic music of "the
conscious generation;" a few merely say
it is "camp" and are satisfied like chil-
dren.
Ever since Bob'Dylan "went electric"
and people learned more than the first
verse of "We Shall Overcome," a phe-
nomenon called folk-rock (Simon and
Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence," and The
Byrds' "Turn; Turn, Turn," for example)
has been the subject of a lively debate
between folk "traditionalists" and the
supporters of the new style.
Many influences have combined to
make this new, relatively -undefined style.
One is the popularity and-almost-the
legitimacy of rock and roll. In addition,
social protest, particularly about civil
rights, or war, is the theme of many of
the songs, and is a rallying point for to-
day's activit young. Another factor was
the need for variety and originality-or

IR MUSIC

I CALL YOU IN THE, NAME
OF THE GODDESS
Oil upon the limbs
Perhaps a rancid smell
As here within the oil mill
Beside the little church
On the tacky pores
Of unrevolving stone.
Oil upon the hair
Wound with plaited string
And other scents perhaps
Cheap and costly scents
And statuettes with fingers
Baring tiny breasts.
Oil upon the sun
The stunning of the leaves
On stopping of the stranger
The falling of the coins
To thud of heavy silence
There between the knees;
I call you in the name
of the goddess . .
Oil upon the shoulders
And on the twisting flanks
Dark ankles in the grass.
This wound upon the sun
As vesper bells were rung
As I spoke in churchyard
With a crippled man.

C. P. Cavafy

a gimmick, depending on one's general
attitude-in popular music.
THE COMBINATION of these produced
folk-rock, a form of music that has
produced probably the best and also the
worst of current popular records.
The best has come from Bob Dylan.
Despite charges of opportunism and com-
mercialism leveled at him by former de-
votees, his present tyle is, intellectually
and musically, more sophisticated and
more honest than his former traditional
and protest songs. His new musical style
is an adaption of the old blues band
styles, similar to, but not copied from,
rock and roll. And secondly, if one ac-
cepts the premise that expression should
be based on experience, Dylan does not
belong in the field of protest or field-
hand songs. Although he admits his debt
to Woody Guthrie, who lived and docu-
mented the barren misery of the thirties,
Dylan knowing that he lacks this back-
ground, has dropped the woeful protest
of the worker and picked up a highly
personal, often obscure imagery concern-
ed more with metaphysical problems than
the physical.
Charges that Dylan has sold out seem
even less valid when one realizes that
his present stylings are 'much less im-
mediately appealing and emotionally ac-
ceptable than his earlierprotest songs.
Now he goes far beyond the current,-
"popular" concern about social injustices
and deals more with the basic issue of
the individual's -elationship-or lack
thereof-with the reality around him.
UNFORTUNATELY, in the newly-cut
field of folk-rock, there is more. chaff
than grain. Only a few artists beside
Dylan have managed to preserve both
their integrity and their popularity-the
British Donovan, the Lovin' Spoonful
(CDo You Believe in Magic?") and the
Kinks ("A Well-Respected Man").
Other folk-rock performers, like Sonny
and Cher or Andy Warhol's Velvet Un-
derground, exploit this country's sudden
taste for the bizzare, the grotesque, or
the "camp."
In a symposium of letters from noted
music critics recently published in "The
(Concluded on Page Eight)
CHARLOTTE WOLTER is a junior
majoring in English and Associate
Editorial Director of the Daily. She
listened to classical music until
1963, when she discovered the
Beatles

AWAITING THE

BARBARIANS

Nikos Gatsc
ELEGY
In flame of 0 your eye surely once s
Surely to eye-flame spring swamped
ancient shore
Now as you hallowed sleep
On frozen fields where the clematis
Wound to embalm enmarbled wings
Young children of endurance
I would you might appear one night
Stars' blood the leaf of myrtle
For surely once on your chaste foreb
white snow
White snow of lambs of lilies
But ah you swept through life like s
Like summer flame like flaying kerc
Though you had once been unto her
amaranthine wave
Her caustic stone
Her youngest swallow in estranging
Flameless to coolest dawn starless to
Warm heart sprung now to the unk
To snarled teeth of other shore
To frozen children of wild cherry a
DEATH AND THE K1
I see you mute unmoving
Mounted on stallion of Akrites lance
Timelessly riding through the aeons
And would about you furl
Dark forms that would ensure endi
Until one day you also are consumec
Until you are quick fire in Fate agai
And would about you furl
The bitter orange of snow encrusted
And would before your glimpse unf
In which red Scorpio would sing of
In which the Heaven's River would
In which the frozen North Star we
And would about you pastures furl
Waters which nourished German li
And would this armor which you w
With basil sprig with bountied splas
With trophies of Plapoutas pure sw
But I who one spring dawn saw yo.
Rend skies of my own land
And in the plain of Nauplion
Saw the Morean cypress hush
Before the wanting embrace of the
Where aeons grappled with crosses o
Now would about you furl
A chifd's embittered eyes
Cold eyelids closed
In mud and in the blood of Holland
Black land once more
Shall flourish into green
Iron hand of Goetz shall topple turi
Hoard heap to sheaves of barley and
And dead loves deep in darkest fore:
There where stunned virgin leaf wa:
On breasts where softly trembled t<
Hushed star shall dazzle like spring
But you shall be unmoving mute
Mounted on stallion of Akrites lanc

Timelessly riding through the aeons
A restless hunter from the generatio
With these dark forms that would
Until one day you also are consumes
Until you are quick fire in Fate aga
Until once more in river caves resou
The sounding hammers of enduranc
No not for rings and swords
For pruning hooks for ploughs.

What do we wait for assembled in the square?
The barbarians are to arrive today.,
Why is the Senate left inactive?
Why are the senators still idle?
Because the barbarians will arrive today.
What laws can the senators now pass?
When the barbarians come, they will reject them.
Why did the Emperor arise so soon
To sit atop the largest city gate
Upon the throne sedately crowned?
The barbarians will arrive today.
The Emperor waits, with scroll in hand
To greet their chief, with flattering
Titles and with praises.
Why have the consuls and the highest magistrates
Come dressed today in purple, in embroidered robes?
Why have they come with amethyst encrusted bracelets,
With brilliant emerald rings, with gold and silver
Decorated canes?
The barbarians will arrive today.
Such treasurers dazzle their rude eyes.
Why do the orators not come as always
To deliver speeches 'and to speak-their thoughts?-
Because the barbarians will arrive today
And easily they tire of eulogistic speeches.
Why all 'the sudden tumult and confusion?
(How pensive all the faces have become!),
Why do the masses leave the squares and streets
And homeward turn dumbfounded?
Because night has come and with it no barbarians.
And a few men returning from the borders.
Tell us that no barbarians exist.
And now, what will become of us with no barbarians?
Those people were a solution of a sort.

THE MICHIGAN DAILY MAGAZINE SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 1966

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