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October 18, 1979 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-10-18

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, October 18, 1979-Page 5'

THE PUPPY DOG:

Nice Kenny oggis keeps a cute fire

By DENNIS HARVEY
As a recording artist, Kenny Loggins
falls comfortably in middle ground on
the harmless male-pop scale; above
Stephen Bishop, for example, but well
below James Taylor.
His recent music has been purely
commercial yet sincere and unpreten-
tious, and, while his lyrics may be
fairly sentimental and banal, at least he
doesn't seem to know it. Though he has
the sort of puppy.-dog good looks and
simple appeal prone to make 15-year-
old girls dream things they'd rather not
tell their parents about, Loggins is just
enough of a musician to avoid limiting
his audience to the juvenile swoon set.
He's a competent but undistinctive
vocalist, capable of producing effective
rock scowls, low-key "sensitive" mur-
muring and immaculate falsettoes on
cue.
CELEBRATE ME HOME, Loggins'
First solo LP after the break-up of his
highly commercial partnership with
Jim Messina, promisingly provided the
singer with a nicely subdued setting for
his agreeably innocent, simple com-
positions. But the follow-up disc, Night
Watch, produced by Bob James,
reached out for too many pop/rock
snoods in an attempt to push its star
over the top of the charts. Given a help-
fal shove by the single "Whenever I
Call You 'Friend,' " a duet with hot
FeetWood Mac'er Stevie Nicks, the LP
more than achieved its financial goal,
but Loggins' modest charms woundu
somewhat buried under a ton of
creamy, slick but superficial produc-
tion effects.
Loggins' latest, Keep the Fire, is,
alas, more in the vein of Night Watch
than Celebrate Me Home. The
production is sharper and catchier this
time around, but in its glossy way it
tries almost too hard to please; the
commercial intent is spelled out in
boldface in every cut. There's a track of
coy pseudo-funk (complete with
Michael Jackson squeaking in the
baikground), the inevitable disco at-
tempt, some fairly hard-hitting
rockers, and one or two ballads - an
expansive spread, but weightless
enough to leave you hungry.
Night Watch and Keep the Fire are
all purpose music; you can dance to
them, wash the dishes to them, or just
sit back and enjoy the smooth sounds.
They're undemanding albums that
neither bore nor require the full atten-
tion. On his records, Kenny Loggins'
peculiar charms have yet to be fully
captured.
'BUT IN CONCERT . . . ah, that's a
dilffeent matter entirely, as Loggins'
Tuesday set at Hill Auditorium proved.
He entered looking like the last of the
flower children, and that feeling of
naive good will carried through the en-
tire evening. His opener was "I Believe
in Love," an uptempo number
originally sung by Streisand in A Star is
Born. When Loggins sang, "I believe in
love/do you?," all resistance crum-
bled; the audience screamed its assent
as if Peter Pan had just asked them to
believe in fairies.
Getting by with sheer clownish
charm rather than any sort of genuine
magnetism, Loggins managed to turn
all his relative faults into a part of his
appeal - a knack for telling bad jokes
(disarmingly shrugged off with "Well, I
blew that."), a tendency to move
rather clumsily on stage, etc.
Sheepish and almost apologetic, his
'very lack of style created just the right
aura of campfire enthusiasm that the
songs required. The audience, invited
to sing and clap along with the perfor-
mer, quickly abandoned all claims to
A ttention I
Pull off your headphones

and drop those coke spoons!
All Deadheads (they're just
wild about Jerry) should
send their qualifications to
the Daily Arts Page (420
'Maynard, 48109) for the
"Biggest Deadhead in the
area" contest. Prizes and
fame to the winner. Nothing
j for losers. Deadline: October
22.

Donald; the song found its way onto
Night Watch; and later as one of Mac-
Donald's dazzling exercises in letter-
perfect pop it gave the Doobie Brothers'
Minute by Minute album an enormous-
selling single.
MacDonald's collaboration with
Loggins on Keep the Fire is "This is It,"
another example of his astonishingly
sure hand with a Top 40 melody.
Loggins' version on the album (with
MacDonald on background vocals) is a
good version of a potentially terrific
tune; his live version is even better. But
Mike MacDonald is fast becoming the
reigning wizard of pop, and one hopes
that "This is It" will be definitively
covered on the next Doobies project.
ONLY ONCE was Loggins' stage
band allowed to step into the limelight.
Unfortunately, the occasion merely
proved that no such break was
necessary. "Angry Eyes" was over-
extended to the point of inanity to allow
each band member their big moment,
and the following "Lady Luck" also
suffered from an inappropriate amount
of jamming. The concert rolled algng
cheerfully whenever confined to
Loggins' slight charms and relatively
brief tunes. The evening reached its low
point during one assured but very, very
long drum solo, during which at least
one audience member could be heard
grumbling, "Is this mandatory, or
what?"
The set regained its-strength with a
tight "Easy Rider," and the final en-
core, "Celebrate Me Home," perfectly
capped all the good feelings of the per-
formance. Loggins may indeed be
overdosing on the qualities of sweetness
and light, but he certainly made the ad-
diction attractive.
It should be noted - just barely, if
possible - that Kenny Loggins was not
the sole act on the bill. Sniff n' the
Tears, a seven-member British band,
plowed through forty minutes of
generally acceptable, totally unin-
teresting jazz-rock occasionally spiked,
but never saved, by a reggae beat.
The group did not have any of the
features that oqe dreads from opening
acts: no juvenile macho men in
sequined tights, no Freddie Mercury

imitators, and no borrowed guitar-
juggling acrobatics. Unfortunately,
their approach was not so much sub-
dueo as indifferent, and their music
was just the same old fusion Muzak
pilfered from a thousand uninteresting
sources.
Perhaps if they had done. something

interesting, like wearing identical Dolly
Parton hairdos or singing without
moving their mouths, the set might
have been saved from utter
routineness. As it was, Sniff merely
passed the time, and not particularly
well.
E'nough said.

CONT6CT LENSES
soft and hard* contact lenses $210.00
includes exam, fitting, dispensing, follow-up visits,
starter kits, and 6 month checkup.
includes a sCconflIpair of ha'd /enss
Dr. Paul C. Uslan, Optometrist
545 Church Street
769-1222 by appointment
JOSEPH STRICK'S 1978
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
James Joyce's incisive, sensitive portrait of a young man rebelling against
parochial Ireland, with its memories of the martyred patriot Parness and the
stifling atmosphere of a puritanical religion. What seemed esoteric in the book
comes throu h with impact to the unseasoned lover of Joyce. An exquisite
adaptation that surely goes hand-in-hand with analyses of Joyce. An Ann
Arbor Prenfiere. In color with T. P. McKENNA & SIR JOHN GIEIUD.
Fri.: Huston's FAT CITY

Daily Photo by PAUL ENGSTROM
Kenny Loggins and his guitar

CINEMA GUILD

TONIGHT AT
7:00 & 9:05

OLD ARCH. AUD.
$1 .50

restraint, . . Call it regression if you
-like, but, God help us, the guy was
really sweet. Terrifying words like
"touching" and even the dreaded
"cute" rise to one's mind when thinking
about Loggins, and in concert he
justifies them.
YOU CAN practically hear the cash
registers ringing, in the background
when Barry Mpnilow sings about Love
(no, not just love, but Love), but when
Loggins pours on the syrup, there's lit-
tle doubt that he's genuinely engaged
by such things. It's not a fashionable at-
titude, to be sure, but it's powerfully
persuasive.
Fortunately, Loggins is a con-
siderably better songwriter than any
current graduate of the Manilow school
of slop. He's also, thankfully, more in-
clined toward rock: Surprisingly, the
concert managed to salvage entirely
the lush studio sound of Loggins' recent
LPs while pumping life into material
that seemed over-produced on the
discs. Even without Stevie Nicks,
"Whenever I Call You Friend" sounded
remarkably like the original, while
even songs, as dismal as "Junkanoo
Holiday" (a Latino hunk of nonsense
that is Keep the Fire's disco entry)
seemed to have an exhilarating edge
entirely lacking in their recorded ver-
sions.
"Love Has Come of Age," a pounding

but gimmicky rocker that opens the
new LP, came across with genuine for-
ce, thanks largely to the immaculate
support of the five-member stage band.
LOGGINS' VOICE unexpectedly
swooped from breathy tenors to star-
tlingly high falsettos with even more
panache than on any of his recorded ef-
forts. The inevitable medley of ballads
from the Loggins-Messina era, in-
cluding such standards as "The House
at Pooh Corner" and "Danny's Song,"
was performed as a solo acoustic inter-
val. The sap flowed freely, but Loggins'
guileless delivery and the foolproof
melodies made this admittedly familiar
section the concert's peak. The new
ballad "Now and Then'" was equally
winning, even with the astonishingly
sentimental addition of (swallow hard,
now) a classic Italian-restaurant ac-
cordian wailing in the background.
Loggins' best recent material has of-
ten been co-written with other, stronger
performers. "What a Fool Believes"
was co-written with Michael Mac-

The Ann Arbor Film Cooperative Presents at Aud A $1.50
Thursday, October 18
THE LEFT-HANDED GUN
(Arthur Penn, 1957) 7& 8:45-AUD A
Penn's first feature is a psychological western about Billy the Kid. PAUL NEW-
MAN plays Billy, an inarticulate manic-depressive who is befriended by a
gentle cattleman. When the cattleman is killed, Billy sets out to find and kill
the four murderers. As the 'story of a "folk hero" gunman which examines
the contrast between legend and reality, this film prefigures Penn's later
Bonnie and Clyde. Based on a teleplay by Gore Vidal. With LITA MILAN,
JOHN DEHNER.
(John Ford, 1970) WAGON MASTER 10:30 only-AUD A
One of the finest "A" Westerns Hollywood ever produced concerns itself with
trek of a Mormon wagon train to Utah. Rugged terrain, a travelling medicine
show, outlaws, a posse, and Navajo Indians are consumed by Ford's highly
individual style to transfer a genre into a personal masterpiece. "It is lovely.
leisurely, full of romanticized reincarnation of the pioneer spirit, all-beautiful
images and stirring ballads." WILLIAM EVERSON.
Tomorrow: NEW WAVE CINEMA, a collection of punk rock Shorts and
NATIONAL LAMPOON DISCO BEAVER FROM OUTER SPACE at MLB 3..
Also showing tomorrow: Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 at MLB 4
ADMISSION $2.00

A NORMAN JEWISON Film
AL PACINO
"...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL' JACK WARDEN - JOHN FORSYTHE and LEE STRASBERG
Music by DAVE GRUSIN Lyrics by ALAN & MARILYN BERGMAN Written by VALERIE CURTIN & BARRY LEVINSON
Executive ProducerJOE WIZAN Produced by NORMAN JEWISON & PATRICK PALMER Directed by NORMAN JEWISON
RRESTRICTED 40
UNDER ii REQUIRES ACCOMPANYING c'( un
PARENT OR ADULT GUARDIAN A Columbia Pictures Release Read The Ballantine Paperback c 1979 COLUMBIAPICTURESINDUSTRIESINC. PictureS

STARTING FRIDAY
OCT. 19th

It's five miles wide...it's coming at 30,000 m.p.h....
and there's no place on Earth to hide!

e-- .

1t

5th Avenue at Liberty St. 761-9700
Formerly Fifth Forum Theater

._.

k- -

Honk if you lave~ Brian.

ADVANCE TICKETS
GO ON SALE
TOMORROW
AT 1:00 PM
FOR FRI-SAT-SUN
MON, EVE. SHOWS

SAT.
SUN.
WED.
12:10
2:30
4:45
7:15
9:50

I

MON.
TUES.
THURS.

. .

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