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September 11, 1970 - Image 2

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-09-11

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Friday, September 11, 1970

records"
Changing channels at Firesign

By FARGO BERMAN
The Firesign Theater consists
of four crazed guys who play
games with your mind by inter-
weaving and overlapping sur-
real black humor episodes mod-
eled after thousands of B-
movies, radio rehearsals, and
TV game shows. The group is
named after a 1940's r a d i o
show and until their latest al-
bum, Don't Crush That Dwarf,
Han4 Me The Pliers, (Columbia)
the group's mixture of satire,
spoonerisms, and sound effects
has suggested genius.
Side one of their latest re-
lease leads one to believe that
the Theater's game of quick-
ly changing channels on t h e
listener has been played upon
the group itself. An extended
song, "Marching to Shibboleth,"
is mixed with scanty puns to
create a segment so vapid it
only seems credible that some-
one inserted upon the record a
tape recording of some beery-
eyed high schoolers goofing in a
car as they cruise for burgers.
A popular bit from a past al-
bum was "Beat the Reaper,"
where an unwilling contestant is
injected with a disease and must
guess what he has contracted
within ten seconds in order to
receive the antidote. Dwarf
gives us a show called "Stab
From the Past" which is ano-
ther amusing take-off and is
wisely kept short to avoid being
repetitious. The voice of a sweet
larynxed mother tells her hus-
band and son, who.are bicker-

ing about breakfast, that they
will just have to fight it out for
themselves. There ensues the
sounds of a hearty fist fight, a
shattering reminder of how
much we take our cliched phras-
es for granted.
The very end of side one and
most of side two shows t h e
Theater again back on their
track,rpresentinga Paranoid
Pictures release called "High
School Madness" which includ-
es such events as the disap-
pearance of More Science High
School and the relationship of
this occurrence with a World
War and court martial. T h e
total absurdity of linkages be-
tween episodes gives the dra-
mas a true-to-life flavor. And
there are again effective word
combinations like "napalm-
olive detergent" comparable to
Godard's use of conjunctions
like "Cinemarx" in One Plus
One.
Groaners are also'present -
"we got him red handed" fol-
lowed by "yeah, you got red
hands" - but what really makes
this album become trying, des-
pite its fine moments, is the
polished quality of the preced-
ing albums, "Waiting For The
Electrician Or Someone L i k e
Him" and "How Can You Be In
Two Places At Once W h e n
You're Not Anywhere At All?"
with their wide range of comic
ideas. The Firesign Theater
worked with such a richness. of
material that their previous al-
bums wre almost exasperating-
ly rapid-fire. Don't Crush That
Dwarf shows them at times dis-
sipated or else becoming, like

their Dept. of
Dept., redundant.

Redundancy

A disappointing Winter
Johnny Winter attended the
2nd Annual Ann Arbor B 1 u e s
Festival this past August for
the sole purpose of hearing the
artists who are his mentors. On
the final night he consented to
play for a few minutes and his
ten to fifteen minute jam with
Luther Allison was one of those
peak moments of the cosmos,
even in a festival with the likes
of Bobby Blues Band, John Lee
Hooker, Big Mama Thornton,
and Son House.
The Ann Arbor Blues Festi-
val, perhaps the only major
concert production of this year
which was planned to be non-
profit (profits were to go into
future festivals)' is .now $2 0.-
000 or $25,000 in the hole which
not only threatens any future
blues festival here but a 1 s o
financially undermines the co-
sponsoring Canterbury House,
which for one example, has pre-
sented Neil Young for a $2.00
admission. There is a good pos-
sibility that Johnny Winter will
play a benefit for th Festival in
early October; meanwhile, con-
tributions may be sent to the
Ann Arbor Blues Festival, c/o
the Michigan Union.
Johnny Winter And (Colum-
bia), his new album with a
drummer, bass, and one other
guitarist contains consistently

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. _.
__ __
4 _. _

MICHIGANENSIAN
MIXER
Friday-Sept. 11
8:30 P.M.
Ix
Union Ballroom
ADMISSION: FREE with yearbook receipt
or 50c

141

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SHOWS AT
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solid blues-rock which is con-
sistently unexciting. The over-
all sound is a bit muddied;
perhaps from the too abundant
fullness of their use of two elec-
tric guitars; perhaps because of
muddled production, which
was handled by Winter and
Rick Derringer.
Derringer plays guitar a n d
wrote "Rock and Rolll, Hoochie
Koo," the outstanding song of
the album with a driving y e t
clean, sound from the group
and both a fine vocal and tasty
riffs from Winter.
On "Funky Music" there

is a good interplay of guitars but
with an overload of sound creep-
ing in. What is lacking too of-
tn on this album is a distinct
separation and clarity of music;
instead of a well-balanced blend
of instruments there is fre-
quently a blur. Most of the cuts
are okay but undistinguished in
arrangement and performance.
And in light of the superhuman
performances Johnny Winter
has given on recora and in con-
cert, with hisrunique and often
unbelievable digital acrobatics
on guitar, the album is parti-
cularly disappointing.
-)

"EXTRAVAGANTLY F U N, N Y performances by
Wilder, Griffith, and especially Sutherland!"
TIME MAGAZINE
"WHAT A PLEASURE TO LAUGH! The acting to a
man is wildly funny!
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
"JUST FUNNY! JUST GREAT!"
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
"VERY FUNNY'... lush and lavish!"
JUDITH CRIST

I I

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents
A Dan Curtis Production
Come see
how thevampires doit.
Starring D AYSM&W
JONATHAN FRID GRAYSON HALL
and
JOAN BENNETIn Stoddaerd
Metrocolor ®40 MGM

Gene
Wilder

Ron Carter:

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On h is owi
By CLIFF SLOAN
Last year the Creative Arts.
Festival sponsored a jazz week-
end, featuring many facets of
what is now called the original
American musical form. For the
first time many were exposed to
Ron Carter, a bass player who
for many years played With
Miles Davis' group. Well gang,
his -album finally ;came out and
its really great music.
Uptown Conversation is on
Embryo records, Harbie Mann's
new outfit, but don't let that dis-
courage you; this is far from
typical Mann style, trend music.,
His sidemen on this date are
all top calibre jazzmen: Hu-
bert Laws, Herbie -Hancock
(also formerly of the Davis
group), Grady Tate and Sam
Brown. Ron Carter composed
all the tunes and plays' both
acoustic and fender electric
bass.
This album is not to be
thought of as a -famous bass
player's first album on his own;
he surrounds himself with other
fine musicians who share t h e
stage equally as well. But t h e
playing is only half the game
here. Carter's compositions are
noteworthy in themselves, show-
ing us another facet to a man
who's proven his playing abil-
ity for years.
There is a very strong classi-
cal influence in this album
which stems from Carter's train-
ing at the Eastman School of
Music. "Half a row" is quite
similar to a twelve tone chamber
The Michigan Daily, edited and man-,
aged by students at the University of
Michigan. News phone: 764-0552. Second
Class postage paid at Ann Arbor, Mich-
igan, 420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor,
Michigan 48104. Published daily Tues-
day through Sunday morning Univer-
sity year. Subscription rates: $10 by
carrier, $10 by mail.
Summer Session published Tuesday
through Saturday morning. Subscrip-
tion rates: $5. by carrier, $5 by mail.
r1

n -- at last!
,piece, featuring a piano-b a s s
dialogue that is worthy of We-
bern. Herbie Hancock's piano is
a far cry from his electric piano
days with Davis; he displays a
musical sensitivity that is often
lost in a high powered group like
Davis'.
Carter's bass solo on "T e n
Strings" reminded me of a de-
gree recital both in his artistry
and technical proficiency. Rath-
er than falling into another
boring solo thatis too often the
case with extended improvisa-
tion, he adds color with an adept
application of electronic rever-
beration, and the addition of
Sam Brown's whispering guitar
chords.
Even when this set plays music
that is more familiarly jazz,
the melodies still show Carter's
classical background. The title
tune, "Uptown Conversation",
shows this quite well with Car-
ter taking breaks overdubbed
upon his walking bass riff. His
is not an imposing bass as is the
case with too many solo bass
players.
Ron Carter the performer has
had a good reputation in the
jazz world for many years; thisI
album also shows us Ron Carter
the jazz composer - another
reputation that will add to his
musical stature.
Kunstiers
Conspiring!

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