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November 11, 1979 - Image 5

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

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The Michigan Daily-Sunday, November 11, 1979-Page 5

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An Ohio State coach, when surprised,
As he dined at The League, all disguised,
Said, "I love the fine food,
But dislike being booed,
So, I'd rather I weren't recognized."
. ~~i.7c'Ig..
e e Ser
Ie' nu 227
Next to Hill Auditorium Yo
Located in the heart of the campus. tic
it is the heart of the campus. . .. on


I - 0.

W HEN, A FEW WEEKS ago, the first annoying flurries of snow
fell on our picturesque campus, my immediate reaction was
to leap into my car and beging driving south. After only eight hours of
putting the hammer down, I was privileged to see'the sun once again.
Around me were the rolling foothills of Kentucky's Applachian Moun-
tains, and I quickly made plans never to return to Ann Arbor. The
weather was very beautiful, and there were no Regents, or midterms,
or members of the Spartacus Youth League qpywhere to be seen.
Truly, I thought, I have found a home,
But soon enough,. reality began to creep into this seeming
paradise. All those spray-painted overpasses on 1-75 saying "Wildcats
No. 1" or "Stop the RR of Bob Avakian" (who apparently is one mad
k Monopoly player) could not be ignored, and reminded me of the real
r a home of the dedicated graffiti aficionado. Closer investigation of the
'surroundings revealed that even the smallest rural towns had com-
munity colleges of their own, complete with midterms and Regents,
and yet distressingly free of graffiti. The last"straw came over the
* radio, ".. with only six seconds left, Wangler found Anthony Carter. .
.,"and me having sold a ticket for less than a medium pizza with two
items. "Everything in its place" Aristotle once said, and so it was that
I headed back to the car, and back to the Wolverine State.
,Upon my arrival, alas, I was deeply disturbed at the dearth of new
and creative writing. Following an anonymous tip, I examined the
highest' eleventh. floor reaches of the Grad, there to read "Out of
breath, e4, Pensman? Swine" along with several security guard jokes.
that have remained unchanged since I last described them many
4. months ago. Beyond this I found nothing of interest. A chance review
of the Economics building (that white structure that prevents you
from walking straight from the Fishbowl to East U.) merely verified
the assumption that professors show little talent for writing on
bathroom walls. A check of the UGLI revealed that there is no shor-
tage of vulgarityat this school, but that wit and humor are apparently
t going to requirerationing if there is to be enough to go around to all the
non-Engineering students on campus.
SWhy is this? Is the increasing apathy and career-consciousness of
the modern undergraduate already so pervasive as to discourage his
taking up the pn? It is the pen itself, the balky nature of the ballpoint
when used dn i vertical surface? I think not. Surely everyone has a
favorite epigram, pun, one-liner, etc., and the time to share it with
others, and in our technologically advanced society it is not difficult to
obtain a felt-tip pen. that can write on any surface. There is simply no
r good reason why every bathroom on campus can't look like the one at
Dominic's; if they did, the University would be a better place to live.

When Van Morrison was just a young
man, he had a special kind of vitality
and urgency. While most artists were
expanding upon the existing rock vein,
Morrison was busy creating a world of
his own. Of course, he did borrow
heavily from the rock and roll tradition,
and he was no souch as a rocker him-
self. (In ease you had forgotten,
"Gloria" was not written by Hendrix or
Patti Smith). But what separated
Morrison from the others was the fact
that he also borrowed from many other
sources. Soul, gospel, jazz, blues, and
especially Irish folk music were all
amalgamated into starkly evocative
yet dreamlike creation.
Albums such as Moondance and
Veedon Fleece were catchy and
melodic, with a feel that was uniquely
Morrison. His use of horns and strings
delved deep into the heart of the matter
without actually interferring with the
blood of the sound-the vocals.
The backing instruments were
always perfectly complementary'to the
tunes, taking the listener just far
enough to get a taste of the nectar. It
was Morrison's voice that pushed us
over the edge.
It had the ability to control the tone,
indeed the entire mood of the album. He
could incorporate poetic devices such
as alliteration, onomotopia, and
repetition into an unique vocal ex-
Morrison reached his emotional and
creative peaks with his first conceptual
album, Astral Weeks, a timeless work
of beauty and mysticism. The bass,
guitar and strings combined to create
an entirely new sound, lying
somewhere between the heavens and
the cryptic Cypress Avenue. It is one of
only two albums I know of (the other
being Neil Young's Tonight's the Night)
that can encompass any sitution and
create a mood rather than complemen-
ting the existing one.
Unfortunately, Morrison's latest ef-
forts do little in the- way of creating
mood. Both Wavelength and Into the
Music fail to become anything more
than mediocre, uninspiring works. On
Into the Music, the feeling of intimacy
has been glossed over in a deliberate at
tempt to smooth the edges. The horn
arrangements, which under Morrison's
expert care had been his ace in the hole,
are now in the hands of musicians other
than he.
Perhaps the most obvious case of
misdirection occurs in the existence of
a lyric sheet. If anyone does not need a
lyric sheet, it is Van Morrison. The in-
clusion of them on the last two albums
is simnly absurd. On "Angeou" he
sings "Here's my story. It's got no wor-
ds." To start, Morrison's lyrics have
never been more than just a vehicle in
which to carry his voice. Those same
techniques that sound so sublime to the
ear look really ridiculous to the eye.
Whay ya say what you say
What you say what ou say what
you say
Say it say it say it say it again
You make me fee so free, so
doggone free.
Great stuff, huh? This kind of shit is all
over the album, and it really detracts
from the experience that is so impor-
tant when listening to Morrison. This
album sounds much more important

when you simply sit back and listen to it
rather than trying to follow along. In
other words, soul cannot be translated
onto a pink piece of paper.
Which brings us to the real problem:
Has Van lost his soul? There is enough on
this alburi to argue that he hasn't, but
the fact that we even have to ask is
what disturbs me. Into the Music is an
appropriate title for this album,
because the sound is simply too clut-
tered, and the vocals suffer because of
it. Time and again the instrumentals
carry the tone and speed of the songs,
and Van is swept away in the storm. In
"And the Healing Has Begun,"
Morrison is forced to yell the lyrics, and
shouting is quite inappropriate on such
an apologetic love song. On the opening
cut, "The Bright Side of the Road," it
seems that the band is playing a com-
pletely different song than the singer.
They build a wall of sound that seems
distinctly out of place. The result is that
Morrison sounds terribly forced in the
rock and roll vein. He tries to take the
song into his own hands, but never
really catches up.
Perhaps the most disconcerting part
of this band is the drumming of Peter
Van Hooke. His heavy-handed style is
not at all suitable. Every cut on the disc
could be improved by softening the
drums to a melodic backdrop charac-
teristic of early Morrison. The problem
is even more apparent after listening to
"Troubadours," which utilizes a dif-
ferent drummer. The rhythm section is
far and away improved, and one can
only speculate that the rest of the
album would have benefited greatly
had it incorporated an alternate per-
But the album isn't that bad.
Everything Morrison does contains a
high degree of originality and merit. To
start, there is his voice, which, despite
the clutter surrounding it, still has that
mystic quality. Passion comes through
at time, especially on the.second side,
which consists of four elegant love
songs. The conclusion to the album is a
romantic tale of hope and redemption.
"It's All in the Game" (written by
Charles Dawes) segues into Morrison's
own "You Know What They're Writing
About," and together they form the
srongest statement on the entire disc.
The ghostly bass, which is so lacking
from his work in recent years, is very
prominent here, and the acoustic guitar
and strings sound as fresh as they did in
the fantasy of . Astral Weeks.
Morrison's earnest pleas at the end are
a stunning turnabout from his opening
consolation in "Game," and at the
same time a continuation of the mood.
He flies from one extreme to the other
without touching ground.
This album is good at times, and it's
those eclectic instants that make me
realize what's missing. Even in this
context Van shows an awesome ability
to seize opportuity, that one can only
dream about what would happen if he
could still combine those moments to
form a unified whole. Into the Music is
simply too ordinary to be considered an
important work, much less a great one.
In the one song that comes closest to
capturing Van's true R&B roots, "You
Make Me Feel So Free," he sums up
how I feel about this album. "I prefer to
spend some time just listening for that
special something that I've never
heard." I still believe that Morrison can
perform miracles, though, and if "You
Know What They're Writing About" is
any indication, Morrison still might be
able to walk on water. In the meantime,
we'll have to settle for simply wading
on the shore.

nd your League Limerick to:
anager. Michigan League
?7 South Inigalls
au will receive 2 free dinner
kets if your limerick is used in
e of our ads.

"The man you love to hate" plays a cynically amoral count who atfempts to
seduce the wife of the Ameican ambassador while simultaneously carrying
on with his chambermaid and plotting the rape of a half-wit. A mordant,
witty film of American naivety in a glamorour and decadent European
setting. __________________
Mon.: INUIT FILM SERIES (Free at 8:00)
Tues.: CITIZEN KANE (free at 7 & 9:15)
Wed.: Visconti's THE STRANGER


7:00 & 9:15



Now has a H appy H our
Enjoy our Cheese Bar
Listen to the Piano
4-7 Tues.-Fri.
S514 E. Washington

I'll be your mirror...
Truly a case only Madge the manicurist could mend: "Ugly, ugly, ugly,!"
Darlene Finch is savagely castigated her her mother, in the Detroit Attic
Theater's produciton of Charles Dizenzo's comedy "An Evening for Merlin
Finch." This Duane Hanson-esque scene is acted out by Kim Carney, who
plays the younger Finch, and the photogenic Scott McCue playing the
. maternal role. The whole shebang plays at the Theater through nov. 24.

' (I VERiSITY pfMUSCAL '&OCIETY presen s
Fdda Nov.D 69,80


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'III - I

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