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December 11, 1979 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-12-11

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'First Lady'

There are only a few entertainers to
have achieved such prominence that
they are recognizable by a single name.
There is Elvis, of course, and the Duke,
and the Count. And there's Ella, rightly
dubbed both lovingly and respectfully
"The First Lady."
Her audiences love Ella, and she
loves them back. She does not sing to
them from a stage, she sings for them,
talks to them, and she laughs with
them. They love Ella.
What other performer could end a
song and remark "Isn't that pretty?"
and actually sound sincere, not pom-
pous? What other performer would in-
terrupt a number to sing an improvised
birthday to an admiring fan in the front
row. And what other entertainer could
walk on stage to a standing ovation,
before even beginning the first song?
NOT MANY. Ella is one of those few,
and that's what gives her the reputation
as the First Lady, not just of jazz but of
music in general. It is that, plus her
ability to reach out and span successive
generations successfully for over forty
years. She is to some a mother, to
others a grandmother, and to those who
swung to A-tisket A-tasket back in the
1930s, she is an enduring peer.
To a full house at Hill auditorium
Sunday night, Ells once again showed
why her reputation is not undeser-
ved-and she showed it, by giving the
audience those qualities for which she is
famous. Her warmth was there, her
love, and above al, that still strong,
solid voice.
Ella's voice runs the gamut from her
famous be-bop scat of "Meditation" to
the lonely, echoing gospel-like wail of
"After You've Gone." When she tells
her wayward man that he's going to
miss "some kind of loving after you've
gone," the forceful delivery in her tone
makes you nod your head in
agreement, and more than a few
"Amens" were audible.
ELLA OFFERED some of her old-

The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, December 11, 1979-Page 7
clapping sing-along rendition of "Mack
the Knife"-complete with charac-
teristic scat improivisations-that
would make Mel Torme chring with
Ella leaves her audiences with an en-
during sense of satisfaction, and.
tremendous respect for the strength
and versatility of "the first lady." At 71,,
Ella looked better than she has in
recent performances, and if sheer
energy and enthusiasm along are the
true barometers of age, the first lady of
music will be around for a long, long

tIr (;Outf
1140 South University

Ella Fitzgerald

Daily Photo by KAREN ZORN
Goodtime Charlie

Saturday night the RFD Boys - Ann Arbor's own bluegrass group -
celebrated their tenth year together with still another of their performances
at the Pretzel Bell. Ten years! Where does the time go! This is Charlie
Roehrig, lead singer and guitar player for the band, all dressed out in his
special anniversary shirt. The Boys - by now they must be men - started
with a gig at Mr. Flood's Party, moved out to Lums, and have now been fir-
mly entrenched at the Pretzel Bell since 1971. Since they're all professional
types, their time is scarce and Roehrig admits they don't have much time to
practice and work up new songs. Still, their repertoire is large, and they say
they're sounding better than ever before. "When we're really cooking, we
can be playing the same old songs and it's still a great feeling," Roehrig ad-
ds. Hey! Play Fox on the Run, just one more time.

time hits like "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," but
her sheer energy alone maikes one won-
der how this woman could get en-
thusiastic about a song she must have
sung over a thousand times to as many
audiences. She swings with the big band
sounds of Basie and the Duke, and in
"Don't Get Around Much Anymore,"
demonstrates how her unique vocal im-
provisations can breathe fresh life into
old tunes.
Ella's voice is her instrument, and
she displays in it an amazing versatility
of sounds, notes and pitches. She has
the dynamic force of a tuba, and the
range of a tenor sax. She can belt it out
or sing it pretty, then back it up with all
her own instrumental impersonations
in between.
Ella doesn't need any back-up
band-she, in effect, supplies her own
orchestra with the variations in her
voice. Yet she had an excellent accom-
panying band in the Paul Smith Trio,
led by pianist Paul Smith who
sometimes cluttered simple tunes with
excess ornamentation. To put a phrase
of an improvisational "Dixie" in the
middle of "Take the A Train" shows
talent, but does a disserevice to the
Duke and his simple, clear, precise

A charming comedy set in the traditional romantic Budapest of times gone
by-the earlier 20th century. The benevolent but formal owner of a leather-
goods shop is being cuckholded but suspects the wrong' employee who, in
fact, is conducting an anonymous Lonelyhearts correspondence with another
clerk. In everyday life the two keep feuding. Vintage bubbling champagne
brewed to perfection by the magic of Lubitsch. With JAMES STEWART,
C7NEMA GU:05 $....0 j

indeed outshine the clustered chords in
the background.
For one of her three encores, Ella
gave her approving audience a hand-

R _ _

Who: A
(Continued from Page 5)
Numbers, he reflected on the
generation that he used to represent, a
generation that is now, like Townshend,
beginning to grow old. The subsequentu
Who Are You showed that his group was
ready to accept the challenge of the
changing times and re-emerge at the
orefront of rock.
However, this current tour has made
ownshend's cry of "Why should I
are?" at the end of "5:15" take on an
entirely different meaning. Here's a
man giving everything he has and not
getting any satisfaction in return.
It was not clear then exactly what
was going wrong, but three nights later,
we all found out the hard way.
Phase Three - Cincinnati
I. it xc rea 01115lr truth rath r than
help. if it coinnrs iis l iith a couragte
it c Inn h stur i revll h as.if it stadls
tip acrd flith oti. 0 thing is wrrong iot
i tloesn't insist on Moot/ r10 i. th * 1 Rock
& Roll.
Kv slte'l our ori bloot. . ,on't hare
to sheal tntonwelss. Ieath is not t
fill wcha I expect. I rtut surriniter,
surel that is simple enough.
-iocrnShvtl, . 1977
The tragedy in Cincinnati contains
many more ramifications than just the
terrible loss of lives. It is a culmination
of the decline of our generation and of
rock and roll ideals themselves. Rock
and roll has not gone too far, as some
people have suggested. There's no such
thing as "too far" in rock; that's part of
what makes it the fascinating art form
that it is. But what happened in Ohio is
not what rock and roll used to be about.
As the seventies has brought about a
cultural change, it has severely affec-
ted the music. Rock is not immune, as
we thought it was. It is not the perfect
ideal for escape. It has become in-
dividualized, just as everything else
has: Today's rock mobs are not only
unlike the Utopian spiritual ideal, syn-
bolized by Woodstock, they aren't even
close to the violent mods vs. rockers
struggles that are depicted so well in
Quadrophenia. Rock used to represent
group emotion; rallying together
behind the music fot a cause, whether it
be to dance or to fight. It is now just an
individual event. The people come not
to join in any celebration, but to satiate



piece or
themselves. They go to be at an . r.'ni,
which wouldn't be so bad except that
they are unconcerned about the event
itself and the other people that are
It all comes down to one thing: greed.
It's greed that Townshend sensed,
and greed that caused the tragedy in
Cincinnati. It's been a decade since
Altamont, and the rock culture is even
less cohesive now than it was then. And
cohesion was what made rock so great.
in the first place.
Phase Four.- Pontiac
W O*u, coini to rte nt oan,, if ai. san.
-otrrishtdoi tal~ sng
tit 3lisonic Nor. 30. 1979
After having struggled with myself
for a week concerning the rolethat rock
could (and should) play in the future, I
came to some conclusions Friday night
at the Silverdome.
The music is still the greatest ex-
pressionary form we have, and it's wor-
th fighting for. Although the show at
Pontiac was less intimate than the one
at Masonic, it was more powerful. The
crowd seemed more responsive,
possibly because of its size or the
unifying effect of Cincinnati.
The music itself was incredible.
Townshend was an absolute marvel,
especially for the numbers on which he
had lead vocals. Daltrey somehow
eclipsed Townshend's vocal perfor-
mance with an impassioned "Who Are
You" and "Punk Meets the Godfather."
Drummer Jones was much better off in
the large arena (the "shithole", as
Townshend described it) where the
bass drum echoed loud and clear off the
It's difficult to describe the passion
that went into this concert. The Who
played like they were ready to redeem
not only themselves, but all of rock and
Phase Five - The Future
Ihvt n ords "rock ndl rorll' float lwin
ro ort jllr - t' ilt - i gti 0r collaer-

the rock
atifm ion il'm. iminIe b a1 th, -art so
puty comepared to whuat the Iapplyv
to. '
- 'Toueshend,, 1908
! hlivr" hatfro rck can to fnil Ithing.
it's the nit in t' rehiety for
ar,'r% thitng."
-T utsh ,nd. 1970
The Who has survived. They've
kicked away every stumbling block on
the road to obscurity and come out
fighting. Scarred, certainly, but then
how tIse woUld we have it? Rock and
roll is sacrifice just as much as itsis ob-
session, and if there's one person who
encountered both, it's Pete Townshend.
Townshend is the ultimate rocker. He
has traversed every extreme
imaginable and emerged as a true
savior of the art. He has risked his
health, his family, his religion, and
numerous times, the Who itself, in or-
der to uphold the strict ideals that he
holds so close to his heart. He gores
about rock and roll, and he cores about
the people that rock and roll represents.
He knows it's not just a dance music,
that it's more than just music for
juvenile delinquents destined to
become street corner fixtures.
Because of this kind of dedication and
spirit, the Who is the greatest rock and
roll band in the world. True, they're not
young anymore, and they're not as
immediately relevant as the Clash or,
in their own way, the Ramones, but the
shows at Masonic and the Silverdome
reaffirmed my faith in rock, if nothing
else. Those shows were beyond any
monetary value. They were rock and
roll at its best, and that's pretty
Our dreams have been crushed, as
evidenced in Cincinnati. As Townshend
has said, "Rock & Roll always tris to do
right. It always aims high ... the
wrong is that it often fails." We have
failed, in a sense, but somehow the
music survives.
Rock is dead, they say.
Long live rock.



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