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January 16, 1971 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-01-16

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Saturday, January 16, 197141

records
Pruned plastic and splendiferous

delights

By RICHARD LEHFELDT
Buddy Miles: We Got To Live To-
gether (Mercury SR61313)
Buddy Miles has always been
a fascinating phenonmenon for
me. From the beginning, it has
been practically impossible to
figure out just why he had (has)
such a following. His qualifica-
tions (as songwriter, singer and
drummer) are fair to middling.
and that, only on days when one
feels rosy enough to give out
compliments indiscriminately.
Buddy Miles is, though, a dy-
namic performer: he has the
ability in concert to make the
most simple (and often pitiful)
drumwork seem complex and
dramatic and his singing often
borders on a passable Otis Red-
ding imitation. Probably his best
work appears on the first Elec-
tric Flag album (A Long Time
Coming) where he came off of
his ego-trip long enough to do
some excellent group - work.
After this album, Miles appears
to have become power-hungry,
starting his own group (the
Buddy Miles Express), a slick
brass-cum-heavy-guitar enter-
prise.
His last two records go under
the simple masthead of Buddy
Miles, each complete with a suit-
able-for-framing cover photo-
graph of the man himself; the
music is still brass-cum-heavy-
guitar, but even slicker than
ever.
Which is what this new al-
bum, We Go To Live Together,
is all about-the ultimate re-
finement of mediocrity. Those
brass arrangements are perfect:
methodical, mathematical, and
drab, and the guitar licks are
as fast as the speed of sound,
and twice as passionless. One
wonders how musicians could
consent to a position so far be-
neath even that of session men:
they are nothing more than a
vehicle for Miles' soaring ego.

Ginsberg, body and soul

And musically the man has
hardly anything to deliver in
this new offering. One cannot
but be amazed at the motives
of a performer who in 1970
could still be dabbling in
cliches like "I want you I
love you / I need you" (sic)
without blushing.
Miles' drumming is undis-
tinguished, but his singing and
songwriting are downright of-
fensive - emotionless. highly
imitative of every soul singer
under the sun, and totally art-
less. The songs themselves
would put you to sleep out of
sheer boredom were it not for
the fact that they are so brassy
and loud.
Buddy Miles certainly has
come a long way since his aus-
picious debut. If the Woodstock
Nation becomes the vanguard
of the revolution, this will be
the new Muzak, oozing out of
speakers in airports and ele-
vators.
Soft Machine: Third (Columbia
G30339)
Soft Machine is one of a num-
ber of rock groups which are
into an experimental sort of
sound involving jazz, electronics
and such, and they are extreme-
ly competent as such. This, as
the title cogently indicates, is
their third album, and it is ;suc-
cessful in places. The group
fails, I believe, in its inability
to produce unified pieces of
music, so that each individual
cut has moments of excellence
while the whole thing never does
get tied together. The songs ar e
without exception too long and
rambling (Three are only four
on this two-record set.), and the
many parts of each rarely fit
together very coherently.
And yet this is really a very
good group. Instrumentally,
they are superior and, more
importantly, very controlled.
Ther excesses, mercifully, are
not in the decibel level, but in
the fact that they get too far
into their cerebral type of music
with little foresight as to where
whatever they are doing is lead-
ing. This is most evident in the
first cut on the album. "Face-
lift" (18:54, which was re-
corded live. The song fades in
and fades out (no definite be-
i r- K

By GLORIA SMITH
"Merrily, merrily, we welcome
in the year . ." Allen Gins-
berg began to sing-chant, his
body moving with the steady
vibrations of his voice. The au-
dience joined and together they
welcomed in "the new con-
sQiousness," "getting high" and
their "own souls and bodies and
minds.''
The 44-year-old poet, one of
those first "Beat" poets, read
last. night before an audience of
over 300 at Canterbury House.
The reading was a benefit for
the White Panther Party De-
fense Fund.
It was an anxious audience.
Ginsberg had been taping a
television program for Channel
56 and enroute from Detroit to
Ann Arbor a very natural thing
happened: his car broke down.
In the fifty minutes that the
audience s a t akimbo a n d
crowded into the tight confines
of Canterbury House, they
found many ways to amuse
themselves. P a p e r airplanes
made from flyers advertising
Sunday's rock concert to be
'presented by friends .of. the
White Panthers few among the
hundreds.' L i g h t e d insense
stick and grass circulated open-
ly. Someone in the audience
even sent a note up to the stage
suggesting that everyone sing
together. "TherNational An-
them." .No-one responded.
Fifty minutes soon passed,
and Ginsberg arrived. Carry-
ing a duffle bag, a box, and
notes, he stood on stage to ex-
plain his lateness, and then
settled himself on stage.
A Mantra. A Tibet-Buddhist
meditation. Ginsberg began,
with a pencil-length, gold, ob-
ject which he called a "Vigra"
in his hand.
For fifteen minutes the poet,
his dark beard somewhat grey-
ing, his dark hair somewhat
balding near the top of his,
head, led the group in chant.
"Om," he plained, "should be
pronounced from the heart.",
The -group chanted and there
seemed a certain oneness among
them.
Ginsberg read very few of his
own poems, choosing instead to
read many of the works of other
poets.
"May 17, Marquette Prison."
written by John Sinclair, a
White Panther leader who is
presently imprisoned for posses-
sion of marihjuana, began the
poetry reading. In the poem.
Sinclair describes all the things
he had yet to do, ending with
the comment that "nine and
one half years will never be
enough time."

including "Spell Against De-
mnons," by Zen monk Gary Sny-
der.
Ginsberg finally read some of
his own writings-poems "wr.t-
ten during the last one and a
half years," he explained. First
was a "meditation" entitled
"Over the Dallas Skyline." The
second. was a poem entitled
"Have you seen this movie?"
Both poems seemed somewhat

Biography" and dealt with what
Ginsberg called "Air Opium."
The collage consisted of a scat-
tered sampling of different ar-
ticles concerning the transport
of opium and the countries in
which opium was most preva-
lent.
People waiting to come in for
the second set began protesting
the extended time, and" Gins-
berg bid his audience farewell,
asked if anyone had a cigarette,
accepted a banana from some-
one and was encircled by ques-
tioning admirers.

ginning or ending); in between
is some really fascinating inter-
play between the organ. the
lead instrument of the group,
and the drums and bass, but
there is no buildup, no climax.
no resolution, and the listener
is left vaguely dissatisfied. It is
this absence of contrast and
perspective which is the basic
problem throughout the two re-
cords.
Soft Machine is a group with
superb possibilities which has
yet to tie together its potentials
into a successful unity. But
they bear watching.
Robert William Scott: William
Randolph Scott (Warner Brothers
WS 1886)
"It's my pleasure to have this
opportunity to welcome to our
label Bobby Scott, singer/song-
writer and major talent. For
those of you who have been
comatose for the past five years,
Bobby adds to his unquestioned
vocal talents the authorship of
such songs as 'He Ain't Heavy,
He's My Brother' and 'A Taste
of Honey.'" Thus reads the pro-
motional blurb for this, Robert
William Scott's first solo LP.
It was enough to prejudice me
strongly against liking it, but
the record comes off neverthe-
less as a pleasant success.
Scott's songs are quiet and gen-
tle, very soothing stuff after
the likes of Buddy Miles. Sur-
prisingly, "A Taste of Honey"
comes off beautifully. Not sur-
prisingly, "He's Not Heavy, He's
My Brother" turns out to be
just as bad a song as the Hol-
ths"hi191A
FIDDLER
BEERS
founder of the Fox
Hollow Rock
Festival
Columbia Rec Artist
FIDDLE,
PSALTERY
Sat. night late
AFTER HOURS
with Mike Cooney
Aly Bain and others
$1.50

lies had given indication that it
was.
Scott's Iyrics are without ex-
ception intensely personal. and
his gruff. deep voice carries the
tunes very effectively: at times.
though, the material just is not
good enough, bordering on the
trite and sentimental. But tine
album is well-paced, and one is
able to overcome one's dislikes
of a few of the cuts. Scott's
backup group, consisting of
piano, guitars and drums, is
uniformly bland, and that is
unfortunate. Also, there are
several interludes on the album
where Scott, accompanied usu-
ally by just acoustic guitar and
flute, recites some of his poetry
and this just does not come off.
This is. the sort of stuff which
the Moody Blues have refined
to saccharine perfection, and it
embarasses the hell out of me,
but .. .to each his own.

So: this first album by
-obby Scott" is worth listen-
ing to. His next album will
hopefully be even better. +I
hope that won't be taken as a
putdown.
Sweetwater: Just For You (Re-
prise RS 6417)
Sweetwater is one of those
pleasant phenomena in rock
music: a group which quite ob-
viously gets an immense amount
of pleasure out of their music.
In concert, they are warm,
friendly, and obviously very
happy, and all of this comes
through in their ebullient but
gentle music. Their first album
was an unexpected joy when It
came out late in 1968. Since
then, the group has performed
a lot. What apparently pre-
vented them from recording a
second album sooner was lead
singer Nansi Nevins' automobile
See VINYL; Page 8

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PARTY
at
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FEATURING
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SAT.-9:00 P.M.

EVERYONE WELCOME!

MON.-FRI. 7:05-9:15
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Panavision & Color

SAT.-SUN.
2:00-3:45-6:30
7:15-9:15
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Movie pros beware.
Super-8 anr
Film-makers, take heart! Residential College
Even if your name isn't Orson over four days and
Welles or Federico Fellini; even by film teachers fr
if you've never gotten any closer versity and from D
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you can still compete in a real, mation, document
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Thursday in Auditorium A, are not only devoted i
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Ann Arbor, over February 18-21. ance or equipment.
The festival, which has been The entry fee (
in the works for five months, worthy of the name
hopefully will be the largest such try fee) is a mea
event in the entire country. me. How can youg
Over five hundred high schools
and colleges have been notified, At State & Lib
an ad has been placed in the
Film-maker's Newsletter, and an
application appears in the Daily.
Applications are also available
at the Quarry, Purchase'Camera
and Centicore Bookshop. DIAL
Entries will get the Venice- 662-
San Sebastian treatment. They 6264
will be publicly screened in the

,ves
e Auditorium
I then judged
rom the Uni-
Detroit a r e a
dy organizers
in Big Green
eserving films
tegories, ani-
tary, experi-
ve. Contribu-
Residential
Camera, and,
od people of
ie Co-op has
ts time a n d
ect; it is also
y' film-maker
hnical assist-
every festival
needs an en-
asly $3. Tell
go wrong?

4-

Shows Today at
S13,5, 7, 9 P.M.

"N one should miss it!.
The exceptionally appealing young
players, their nude scene together and one candid
glimpse of a male sauna bath, are entirely within
the content of this extraordinary picture,
joining beauty and horror in a rich, scalding
eyeful and a haunting love story."-N.Y. Tim es

detached from his usually pow-
erful poetry about himself. They
He continued with two poems,
spoke out against many of the
problems of today's world,
seeming more like social com-
mentary than personal state-
ment.
As Ginsberg usually does, he
read the poetry of William
Blake. Accompanied by a Drone,
an Indian instrument, Gins-
berg began .with "Can I Seek
Another's Woe and Not Be in
Sorrow, Too?" Continuing, he
asked, "How can a bird that is
born for joy sit in a cage and
sing?"
And it was no surprise when
Ginsberg followed with Blake's
"Little Lamb . . . who made
thee?"
Then came a very personal
Ginsberg poem of "mattresses
where many strong youths with
eyes half-closed had come" to
him.
And in memory of the death
of a fellow poet, he querried
"who will do his work?" And
responded that he would do the
work that needed to be done "to
ease the pain of living."
Ginsberg ended with what he
called a prose collage.
It was entitled "Preliminary

Mart uowley S
IN TilIA NI)"
...iS not a musical.
Cckbhb~ '
Tonight's Shows of
5:30, 7:30, & 9:30
Tma w

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I+

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The
Medium

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OPEN 1 P.M.
SHOWS: 1:20, 3:10, 5 P.M.,
7 P.M., 9 P.M.

Last Performance
Tonight at 8:00
Box Office Opens at 12:30
FRIEZE
ARENA THEATRE

"AS DAZZLING A CALVACADE AS HAS
EVER BEEN PUT ON A SCREEN!"
-Newsweek Magazine
SHOWS AT
S3:30
6:05
8:40 Torn.

i

U

U

14

INA IUILD
Saturday Afternoon Special: at 1 & 3 P.M.
THE WIZARD OF OZ3
d'r, VICTOR SEAMAN
The seldom shown silent version
of the classic Baum story.

FRIENDS OF THE WHITE PANTHERS PRESENTS
ROCK & ROLL MUSIC
at the
UNION BALLROOM
with

Vw

THE USUAL PLACE

THE USUAL PRICE
-. - -- -

ETC

YD

R

SAT., SUN.-JANUARY 16-17
Wt u AA n E T NL fnl!kIC

up.

BR

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Nil

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