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January 09, 1979 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-01-09

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Page 6-Tuesday, January 9, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Son of a gun,

they

had big fun at the

fclk fest

- By ERIC ZORN
In Norman Blake's opinion, there are
only two kinds of music in this world:
Good and bad. "If you mean what
you're playing," he said during his set
at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival in the
Power Center on Saturday night, "then
it's nothing but good." While this
generalization is far too broad to be
useful in any critical sense, it reflects
the generous attitude people bring to
the music which Utah Phillips called
"Our heritage: The music that belongs
to us and not to any publishing house."
The festival, which featured eight
performing acts from America and the
United Kingdom, celebrated not only
the broad spectrum of folk music, but
also the Ark, Ann Arbor's inter-
nationally known coffeehouse and
showcase for traditional music. All of
the performers donated their fees to the
faltering Ark which has been surviving
financially over the past few years on
only the skinniest of margins.
BY ANY MEASURE, this second
benefit in the past year and a half was
a success: Musically, Saturday offered
a huge range of material, most of it
capably and sincerely performed; and
financially, the proprietors reported

that they came within about 75 tickets
of selling out both performances. Un-
fortunately, this does not mean that the
future of the Ark is necessarily rosy.
"Today's take will pay off our back
debts and give us a shot in the arm for
next year," said David Siglin, who
manages the Ark with his wife, Linda.
"The benefit helps a lot, but when we're
losing a thousand dollars a month, the
money doesn't go far."
The community sponsored counseling
center and bulwark of folk music in the
area has muddled through in the past,
but the Siglins warn of complacency on
the part of a community which thinks
that the benefit ensures further
operation.
With friends like the performers who
flocked to Ann Arbor in its support, the
Ark will never be poor in one sense.
Certain musicians require small clubs
and coffeehouses to make their living,
but the folksingers who mounted the
stage on Saturday no longer have a
financial stake in the continuation of an
intimate-gathering place like the Ark.
Men like Norman Blake and David
Bromberg have racks of records for
sale and all the concert dates that they
need, but they are committed to the

continuation of the smaller time
musician, and they also remember the
boost that people like the Siglins have
given their careers when times were
not as fat.
SATURDAY afternoon kicked off
with a half hour set from Mike Seeger
and Alice Gerrard. Seeger specializes
in Southern traditional music, songs he
says "were raised in folk's homes." A
personable performer, Seeger related
well with the audience and gave a sam-
ple of his musicianship by switching in-
struments on virtually every song.
Gerrard's tenor vocalizing didn't set
any spines to tingling because her voice
was too smooth and deep to offset
Seeger's melody. With the exception of
an a capella version of "Old Blue,"
which found a tasteful middle ground
between Joan Baez's lugubrious lament
and the Dillard's boot stomping
hoedown rendition, the usual richness
of male-female singing was lost. She
joined Seeger on a twin fiddle number,
and chomped merrily away on her cud
of chewing gum while knocking the fid-
dlesticks during an audience-pleasing
whirl through "Lost Indian."
UNACCOMPANIED singer and
storyteller Norman Kennedy followed.
the Seeger-Gerrard duo with a collec-
tion of ballads and dance songs in
English and Gaellic, plus a few old yar-
ns. The middle-aged weaver from
Aberdeen, Scotland was enthusiastic,
but claimed that he was "singing under
adverse circumstances: They don't
serve whiskey in here."
Indeed, though Kennedy's jaunty
voice was strong and well in tune, the
length and mood of many of the songs
which he performed seemed to require
an atmosphere other than center stage
at the Power Center amphitheater. The
half hour would have passed much
more quickly had we been stuffed into a
country pub, fat men playing darts in
the other room, and a couple of pints in-
side us to aid in croaking out the in-
numerable choruses.
HEADLINER Norman Blake brought
his trio out following Kennedy's last
song, and then jumped into a cleanly
picked run through "Nashville Blues."
A lot of ink has been spilled about the

guitar talents of Blake, and he is un-
disputably a precise and imaginative
picker, playing his solo breaks as the
group's ace of trump. As a performing
group, though, the trio of Norman, his
wife Nancy on the cello, and fiddler
James Bryan, failed to live up to their
top billing (shared with David Brom-
berg) at the festival.
Somnolent Nancy Blake's cello was
unfortunately only audible when
bowed, and fiddler Bryan's shy, dainty
style was fine at the Ark when this

same trio visited in October, but far too
subtle and low-key for an audience of
over a thousand. With his accompanists
creating rather a dead space on stage,
Norman Blake had to carry the show
alone. He sang verses to about half of
the numbers, but he isn't nearly the
vocalist that he is instrumentalist, and
a brightening harmony was sorely
missed.
It would be nice to see Blake on stage
with a couple of other exciting per-
sonalities and musicians, but he cer-

Anyone interested in
AUDITIONING FOR
The Michigan
Men's Glee Club
go to 1024 Administration Building
Today between 9 & 5 p.m.
for further information

Now Showing, Campus Area Butterfield Theatres

I * I

I

WEDNESDAY IS
"BARGAIN DAY"
$1.50 until 5:30

MONDAY IS
"GUEST NIGHT"
TWO ADULTS ADMITTED
FOR PRICE OF ONE

ADULT MAT. 2.50
EVES. & HOL.. 3.00
CHILD
14 & UNDER. 1.25

U

WAYSIDE Walt Disney's
3020 Washtenew a a P1NOCC 11 "0
YpsilantiP

Daily Photo by PAM MARKS
Bryan Bowers

MON, TUE, mun 6
FRI 7 & 9:25
SAT 1-3-5-7-9:25
SUN & WED 1-3-5-7-9

MON, TUES, THUR 7 & 9:15
FRI 7 & 9:25
SAT 1:15-4:15-9:25
SUN & WED 1:15-4:14-7-9:25

JOIN US
FOR A WEEKEND OF I)4->)
VERY SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS
Friday & Saturday,
January 19 & 20 at 8 p.m.
Nicholas Pennell, Marti Maraden,
Tom Wood
in
THIS, FAIR CHILD OF MINE-
An All Shakespearean Program
About Parents and Children
TRUEBLOOD THEATRE
r Sunday, January 21 at 2 p.m. only
WILLIAM WINDOM As ERNIE PYLE
POWER CENTER
PTP Ticket Office is located in The Michigan League,
764-0450. HOURS: 10-1 & 2-5 p.m.
Tickets also of all Hudson's Ticket Outlets

tainly cannot do it all. During the
evening performance (only Bromberg
and Blake played for both audiences),
the Blakes and Bryan followed two
stunning, stand-up acts, and their sit-
down, back porch style set lacked the
energy to excite an audience which
was, at that time, ready to be lifted to
their feet. The songs were overlong, an-
tiseptically perforied, and set the
fingers to drumming nervously on the
edge of the seat.
U. UTAH PHILLIPS, "The Golden
Voice of the Great Southwest" was a
welcome act following the Blakes in the
afternoon concert. The bearded
singer/philosopher/storyteller was
disarmingly witty as he picked guitar
and chatted about his life in Washington
State where he has settled. "Who un-
derstands inflation?" he asked
rhetorically while itemizing complaints
about society. "One of the problems is
that ex-President Ford learned his
economic policy right here at the
University of Michigan. As the center
for the football team, he learned to look
at the world upside down between his
legs." Later, he complaineddthat "a
Korean family wants to adopt my
child."
A former resident of Ann Arbor,
Phillips saluted the Ark as "a place to
reach out and get a hold of our music
and make it our own." After discussing
the financial problems in society a bit

mor he insisted: "You all have got to
learto make your own music instead
of bi.ng it."
A irviceable guitar player with a
deep;ich voice, Phillips made some
fine tusic .of his own, inviting the
"tastess wretches" in the crowd to
sing ang on "The Wabash Cannon-
ball" hd "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum."
Phillipcame on a little strong at the
end of k set with his "ragged oldster
who thibs his nose at every known
conventn" schtick which, once we got
the idea egan to cloy.
Overa. Phillips is a consummate en-
tertainerand the audience rewarded
him withhe first large-scale standing
ovation Ohe day, which led to the first
encore peormance.
COMPAABLE in a way to Phillips
was Gaml; Rogers, the southern folk
singer whcpent the greater part of his
half-hour the spotlight Saturday
evening fowing the Blakes telling
funny storikand lecturing the audien-
ce on topic such as nostalgia. The
ruggedly halsome Rogers set down
his guitar antaced back and fort}, ac-
ting out storit, gesturing, and peering
mischievousliat the audience when
slipping in onf his famous "ten dollar
word" phrase such as "fulminating
lunacy."
It would haveen nice to hear a little
more of his fe singing and three-
fingered guitaricking, but, as he had
to follow Normi Blake's astounding
six string gymistics, Rogers stuck
primarily to stytelling. Though he
talked a lot of theme like a high school
junior fresh fror cramming for the
S.A.T. tests, the 'rsonable raconteur
told fresh and iminative tales which
lit up the end ( the evening and
provided welcomeriety.
BRYAN BOWES, the tall, ragged
looking autoharp irtuoso from the
West Coast, also pved to be quite a
storyteller. During s set, the second of
the evening group, e took time to tell
several true stori which had the
audience rolling.
Musically, Bowervas sensational in
his abbreviated set.i an interview on-
ce, he claimed that ose who call him
the best in the worlon the autoharp
haven't heard peoplike Mike Seeger
play, but those who ere around in the
afternoon to hearSeeger's New
Freedom March sv that Bowers
clearly won the battlef the autoharps.
He went through a rtine which fans
have seen before whe he shows the
audience how he ps "The Battle
Hymn of the Republ," first strum-
ming the rhythm withis thumb, and
on successive verses aing the melody
with his middle fingeri low harmony
with his index finger,-high harmony
with his ring finger, ana soprano part
with his pinky.
Bowers uses his techque to enchan-
ting advantage on thenstrumentals.
The ethereal sounds he roduces bring
out emotions which youever thought
the instrument could evie when Mrs.
Gooch strummed it on Ir lap in first
grade. His powerful ahqlear singing
voice along with his oth talents give
Bowers a full hand, anchis weekend
performances at the Ark a February 9
and 10 are not to be misse
LEADING OFF the eving concert
were John Roberts and Tay Barrand,
English musicians who .ow live in
Vermont. The duo startedff with an d
capella sing-along, "I Wis They'd Do
It Now," which was oined en-
thusiastically by the adience. It
usually takes a few songs toet the fans
warmed up enough to singalong, but
the evening crowd went at iwith aban-
don right away. Roberts ad Barrand
sang interesting and preise har-
monies, and their intonationwas right
on the mark: "That's why thy dare do
songs without accompaiment,"
remarked a member of the aulience.
Roberts added a bouncy bnjo on a
few songs, showed a bit of nic fiddling,
and donned the bells and waved the

cloth for a demonstration Morris dance
while Barrand squeezed out a few on
the con-ertina. The pair also chose
their ballads cleverly, and encouraged
the crowd to really belt it out on their
finale, "Boozing," with a chorus which
no one at the Power Center should ever
have a chaace to forget:
Boozing, booing, Just you and I
Boozing, booing, when we are dry.
Some do it opegly, some on the sly
And we all are Uoody well boozing.
Between ac's, there were often a few
dead minutes ,,while the crew set up the
microphones when Ron Sanders,
television persolality from Detroit and
See DIVERSITY, Page 7 -

It:

'J

Oe
wM I C..**--W'

RYAN
O'NEAL
CANDICE
BERGEN
RAY
MILLAND

MON, TUES, THUR 7 & 9
FRI 7 & 9:25
SAT 1-3-5-7-9:25
SUN & WED 1-3-5-7-9

AM Nut

Or

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