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December 08, 1978 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-12-08

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g The Michigan Daily-Friday, December 8, 1978-Page 5
THE PERSUASIONS A T THE EARLE

Four out of five

ain't bad

By R. J. SMITH
Although they specif icly got
gether in Bedford-Stuyvesa;, a run-
own section of Brooklyn, it Wld have
een in Detroit, or Balt.iore, or
hiladelphia, or any large y with a
ultitude of street lights ad out-of-
ork youths. Born from aifties and
arly sixties public fascindon with a
apella singing, the Persasions and
heir masterful harmozing have
ecome a sort of public fdity. But if
nly all oddities were, rewarding
pon investigation!
With no instrument t(augment the
nfortunate loss of bass immy Hayes,
ho had to go to Nei York on an
mergency, one mighthink the Per-
uasions would havebeen greatly
'mited in material at Weir show at the
arle' Wednesday niht, and would
ime and again hav been irrecon-
ilably sunk from thi harmonies. But
ot so at all. With a ┬░pertoire of over
50 songs and a b'y of four other
ocalists who r-ngefrom fine to nigh
tunning, the lace ofa strong bottom to
he sound wa: nciceably only oc-
3asionally.
WHAT WASeninently noticeable
was the vocal lesse of the other four.
renors Joe.1ussel and Jayotis
washington, ind baritones Jerry
awson and .erbert "Tubo" Rhoad
have over fivdecades of professional
experience been them, together and
apart. The ft. that they are still an a
capellA groutoday is only because of

some initial urging from their producer
- after performing together for about
five years, they had plans to get a back-
up band as soon as they could afford
one!
But since then, they have needed to
scrap to maintain their a capella
purity. They have received heaps of
critical acclaim as "the kings of a
capella," and yet their album sales lag
disappointingly. They have slowly
established a fiercely loya) following
through numerous appearances in
small clubs and bars all across the
country, and yet their lack of commer-
cial success has led members to tem-
porarily retire, and has even led the
group to experiment with using in-
strumental back-up - an experiment
which has since been rejected, at least
for now.
THEIR SHOW at the Earle Wed-
nesday evening was a splendid affir-
mation of the power of the song. At on-
ce, they grabbed handfuls of musical.
traditions: Drifters-style croons, street
corner doo-wop, rough-edged R&B, and
scads more were summoned up, melted
down by the lack of instrumentation as
not to reflect respective genres - sim-
ply evoking a unified, rich musical for-
ce.
Performing a capella is like having
an appendectomy with only a local
anesthetic. Practically the last comfort
is gone, and the slightest slip-up is
going to be felt. The Persuasions handle
the difficulties famously. Their pitch

The U-M SCHOOL OF MUSIC PRESENTS
E UNIVERSITY
OFMICHIGAN
mpany
FRIDAY, DECEMBER $Sat 8 PM
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9 at 8 PM
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10 at 3 PM
POWER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
PREMIERE PERFORMANCES OF WORKS BY GUEST ARTISTS
" GUS SOLOMONS, JR. (performing in his own work)
" LAURA GLENN (funded in port by the Nat'l Endowment for the Arts)
* GARY LUND
Special performance of Jose Limon's THE EXILES
Tickets available at the P. T.P. Box Office in the Michigan League
Mon.-Fri. 10lam-I pm, 2 pm-5 prn
Power Center Box Office opens 2 hours before each concert

SPfowo by Donald COhen
The Persuasions (minus bass Jimmy Hayes) performed at the Earle
Wednesday night. Pictured above is group member Joe Russell.

Bck Aley succeeds
wits vibrant 'Even ing'

never falters a whit, and the four have a
singular sense of rhythm.
At their show they sometimes
mimicked instruments, and other times
their songs made you hear instruments
where there were none. But the best
portions of the show came during songs
- and they could be familiar ones, like
"Love On the Roof" = when their
presentation simply made the thought
of supporting instruments
unimaginable, impossible.
AND, AS THEY always do, they
spread their love for singing to the
audience in numerous ways. They led
several processions through the crowd,
and at one point invited members of the
audience - an aggregate which

IRICH LORANGER
A theatzal production emerges this
eek fro a somewhat obscure Ann
rbor grip, The Back Alley Players.
his preminantly black, student-run
rganizzn, which has been active for
hree yes, is currently presenting An
veningf Entertainment, consisting
f two sort plays and a poetry reading
n the Citerbury Loft.
The Ift is an excellent place for a
how dling with personal themes, as
his onloes. It seats about fifty people,
o thatmosphere is enjoyably in-
imat(The Players seem to coalesce
ith t audience, a feature which they
se t their advantage, occasionally
irecig lines to onlookers and so fur-
her 6tering a close relationship.
TU FIRST selection, "The Church
Fig' is an award-winning 1925 satire
by Rh Gaines-Shelton. It is a comedy,
but ives a multi-leveled view of
eli)us hypocrisy.
T play concerns a poor church's
20ocil meeting in which the
arhioners try to dig up charges
agast their church leader. The wish to
eose the eminent Parson
prrastinator, and scheme, rant, and
vijusly spread rumors in his absence.
Wn the parson arrives, decked out in
aexpensive business suit, you want
haccusers to nail him down, but he's
ji too fast a talker.
'he humor of the play stems from
tng swept along by the belief of these
pple that they are in control. Even
eir names, e.g., "Bro. Judas" and
lister Meddler," give them away as
arrow entities of narrow minds. The
ayers bring out the disorder of their
aracters' actions, countering -the
sunity only with the intensity of their
irituals and their common dislike for
e parson.
IN THE EVENING'S second
gment, The Back Alley Poets present
houghts to Make You Think," a
lection of readings by the Poets
emselves and several others. This
irited recitation looks at poetry, love
pd sexuality, freedom, and other con-
pts from the black perspective. The
Lyles vary from close, intense concen-
tation to loudly expressed and deman-
~ng views.
The poetry is written to communicate
every way the shadings and soul of a
lack man's life. Each poet relates
ghat importance his "black woman"
s to him, and this goes beyond just
he artists' culture, reaching out to
veryone. Every man knows how a
oman feels; likewise, women know
ghat they touch in a man. The univer-
ality of this affection brings everyone
the room to a close, human under-
nding of the poets' emotions. The
eeling that one gets from the verse is
ncommon, and by itself makes this
vening with Back Alley a worthwhile
xperience.
A second modern play, "Tear for a
;efallen Angel," completes the night's
ntertainment. It was written by Judi
Lnn Mason, who now develops black
elevision comedy for Tandem Produc-
ions. The play allegorically examines
he race problem by displaying a class
onflict within black society. It utilizes

a farcical form that is now widely seen
on television.
"TEARS FOR a Befallen Angel"
depicts Abbie, a Detroit city girl who is
taken in by the family of her aunt and
grampa when her mother dies in an ac-
cident. She is a bitter girl, who cannot
adjust to the "countrified" ways of her
kin. They try goodheartedly to ease

See BACK, Page 6

ultimately must have accumulated
about 25 people or so onto the tiny stage
area - to join them in a series of
seasonal songs.
Much like the faith in God they sing
about so thoroughly in their gospel
numbers, the Persuasions resonate a
faith in the powers and joyousness of
songs - all sorts of songs - that is, in
its own way, also quite reverential.
They need no instruments, for what else
is the voice but the most personal, and
expressive, of instruments?
Tonite Only!
Cinema I11presents
The year is 2024.
a future
X ou'llI
obably
to see.
d4
-, .
324A
an R rated, rather kinky tale of survival
LQJat A BOY AND HIS DOG
DON JOHNSON SUSANNE BENTON ALVY MOORE
. ~JASON ROBARDS, ,,,. HELENE WINSTON
.m:CHARLES McGRAW .Po dbyALVY MOORE
Move over Beniy. A more lovable
(though occasionally dirty minded)
canine has not crossed the screen
since the Shaggy Dog. Blood, a tele-
pathic mongrel, and his human com-
panion. Vic, scrap and fight for sur-
vival in the post-atomic 2024.America.
It's a kinky tale, based on "New
Wave" sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison's
award winning novella. "A film of wit
and intelligence in the most misused
of genres.' Take One.
Plus Short-THE DOVER BOYS-
Chuck Jones' 1942 satire on college
days subtitled "The Dover Boys at
Pimento University, or The Pride
of Roquefort Hall."
7:00 & 9:00
Angell Hall Aud. 'A'
Sat: MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN
Sun: LIFE OF EMIL ZOLA &
MRS. MINIVER

The University of Michigan
School of Music
presents
"Mirror Image"
Dec. 9th and 10th
Symphony Band and Wind Ensemble
H. ROBERT REYNOLDS, conductor
DR. THOMAS LEE, guest conductor
Dec. 9, 1978
Hill Auditorium
8:00 p.m.
Chamber Winds and Concert Band
CARL ST. CLAIR, conductor
DR. THOMAS LEE, guest conductor
Dec. 10, 1978
Hill Auditorium
8:00 p.m.
ADMISSION COMPLIMENTARY
MEDIATRICS
presents
OH GOD!
(Carl Reiner, 1977) GEORGE BURNS is a smooth, sophisticated
and witty deity who comes down to Earth to straighten put
mankind. Enlisting a too-cute and too-cuddly supermarket
manager (JOHN DENVER-perfectly cast), he makes his task
difficult and amusing. "Fast, ingenious, warm, likeable, funny
and uplifting."-Charles Champlin-LA Times.
Fri., Dec. 8 Nat. Sci. Aud. 7:00 & 9:00

The cure for "Saturday Night Fever"
IS to see it at Midnight
...' CttTonight
-Mo

"4
w-.~--~-
5', 4.'
"5.., -
A Dazzling BIE

.4

end

- OfTPtographydJ 1
and Poetry
photographs by John Pearson
(author/photographer of THE SUN s
BIRTHDAY and MAGIC DOORS)
4A yak",,P poetry by e.e. cummings
's" over 85 /ulh-co/or and
S~ black-and-white phoo ographs'a
$6.95 trade paperback
ISBN 0-201 -05555-4
g r wA
~ ~~LV
'a x~yy, ~~*" .'

i

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