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October 01, 1977 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-10-01

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Page 8-Saturday, October 1, 1977-The Michigan Daily

Chris Hillman

finishes apprenticeship

I've never been able to understand
why so many people enjoy listening
to the likes of Crosby, Stills and
Nash, Firefall, Fools Gold, Dan
Fogelberg, Poco, the Eagles, and all
the other country rock g r o u p s
around. To me, the music of these
bands is saccharine, tedious, and
vapid, and the lyrics employed
rarely rise above the lowest depths of
banality. Pretty harmonies just can't
make up for the lack of ingenuity that
characterizes most of this sad genre.
Of course, a few artists have
managed to transcend the limitations
country rock imposes. The Byrds, the
band that founded folk rock, pro-
duced a decade ago what can
legitimately be called the first major
country rock album Sweetheart of
the Rkodeo. This remains a fine work,
but unfortunately far too many
people have unsuccessfully tried to
imitate it.
The Flying Burrito Brothers, the
first major group to play country
rock, was a marvelously imaginative
bunch of mnusicians. The music
Stephen Stills produced with his band
Manassas was another unusual ex-
ample of worthwhile country rock.
Unlike most of the work of the same
period, Stills' music possessed
warmth, originality, and enthusi-
It's interesting to note that one per-
son was present in each of these
musical amalgamations; in fact, his

list of credits read like a history of
folk and country rock. Chris Hillman
started out with the Byrds, working
closely with Roger McGuinn on songs
such as Mr. Tambourine Man, Eight
Miles High, Goin' Back, and co-writ-
ing So You Want to be a Rock 'n Roll
Star. After Sweetheart of the Rodeo,
Hillman and Gram Parsons left to
form the Flying Burrito Brothers.
Later on, Hillman helped Stephen
Stills form Manassas. After 'that
band broke up, he joined the original
Byrds for a reunion album simply
titled Byrds. Hillman's lively contri-
butions were highlights of the record.
Rather than making the solo album
many people hoped he would, Hill-
man then chose to join Richie Furay
and John David Souther in the
ill-fated Southern Hillman - Furay
Band. Although the trio's two records
contained some good material, they
were obviously the work of three
individuals rather than a unified
Then, last year, Hillman finally
released his first solo album, Slippin'
Away. It's a delightful record, filled
with what can best be described as
country rock! Sure, it's somewhat
more polished and sophisticated
sounding than the country rock
Hillman helped pioneer, but it's still
essentially the same thing. Most im-
portantly, however, Hillman proved
once again that it's possible to make
good country rock.
Hillman has just released a second

solo effort. Clear Sailin' (Asylum
7E-1104). Although the material is
not as varied as it was on last year's
record, Hillman's new supporting
musicians are. extraordinary. The
lyrics are not without interest, but
the real strength of the album lies
with the rich, deeply textured music.
John Brennan's lead guitar is fre-
quently fiery, but he never dominates
the action. Richard Marx plays
excellent rhythm guitar, and Larry
Sims and Merel Bregante give the
music a full sound with their bass and
drums playing. Skip Edwards con-
tributes innovative keyboards, pedal
steel guitar, and synthesizer, and Al
Garth adds fine violin, viola, saxo-
phone, and recorder. Hillman him-
self plays acoustic and electric

Although these superb musicians
work well to provide solid, well-inte-
grated music, each one frequently
steps out in front to do a short solo.
This makes for exciting, varied
Most of the songs were written by
Hillman and various collaborators.
Peter Knobler, editor of Crawdaddy
magazine, who helped Hillman write
the tuneful Step on Out on Slippin'
away, worked on four of these
numbers this time, and they're all
good. Hillman handles the three
songs he didn't write as if he had,
giving them unique and creative
Some lyrics from Lucky in Love
sum up the general philosophy of the
I'm lucky in love and I'm always a,
I don't have to worry about playing
to win
If somebody's heart is breaking, it's
mine - I can take it
Hillman is'able to mostly laugh at
his past, and this makes for a bright,
amusing album, rather than a som-
ber brooding one. It's a pleasure to
listen to.
Nothing Gets Through and Playing
the Fool, like Lucky in Love, are
bouncy tunes filled withvhumor
instead of pain. Carole Bayer Sager's
Heartbreaker and Smokey Robin-

son's Ain't That Peculiar work with
similar themes. Heartbreaker is
particularly notable for its jazzy,
salsa-like conclusion.
One of Danny O'Keefe's best songs,
Quits, is given a superlative treat-
ment. As O'Keefe tends to view
ended love affairs more sadly than
Hillman does, Quits is a moving
change of pace.
Three of Hillman's originals don't
quite fit into the happy-go-lucky mold
of the rest of the album, in addition.
In a gorgeous tune called Fallen Fa-
vorite, Hillman seems more emotion-
ally attached to the subject than is
usually the case - "They say that'
people live and learn, well baby,
you're just livin'." Rollin' and Tum-
blin', a moody, meditative number,
seems filled with hope and despair at
the same time.
Best of all, perhaps, is the title
track. Hillman has withdrawn from a
love relationship and from a religious
experience, and he feels great about
it. The feeling of wonderful affirma-
tion of life is hard to avoid; this song
makes you feel good,
i The vocal harmonies, which sound
more like the Bee Gees than Crosby,'
Stills, and Nash, help explain why
Clear Sailin' works so well. It has
always seemed to me that country
rock could use a little more warmth;
a touch of rhythm and blues. This is
just what Clear Sailin' provides.


C)1977 ( )'-i CH T 1/ BREWING ()CHM1, 1 .('( MILWAKEE W

S-KJ 5
H-Q 1098
D-Q 104
West East
S-A Q10 , S--9763
H-3 H-A K J64
D-8632 D-75
C-J10985 C-42
South West North East
1D pass 1H pass
1NT pass 2NT pass
3NT all pass
Opening lead: J of clubs
And the evening and the morning
were the seventh day. The Lord sur-
veyed the heavens and the earth, the
creatures of the air and of the water,
and He saw they were good. And the
seventh day is the Sabbath, He
proclaimed, and ye shall rest. But the
golf courses and the tennis courts
were filled.
God became restless. So on the
seventh day He created bridge. He
populated the heavens with soft and
delicate angels that they might be
His partners and not raise their
voices. And then He created oppon-
Adam. awoke and stretched sleep-
ily, idly scratching his missing rib.
Eve was not beside him. The sun was
already high in the sky drenching
lush Eden in its radiance. Adam's
eyes were shielded from its brilliance
only by the thick leaves of the Tree
of Knowledge, where Eve stood
entranced by the serpent in its
"I am the serpent Goren," it said.
"Taste my fruit and I can show you.;
how to make your finesses succeed,
how to always find the right lead. One
bite and you can count trumps; two,
and you can doublesqueeze." Eve:.
needed no further prompting, and
when she threatened Adam with
bridge lessons, he too relented.
A trumpet sounded overhead, and
Gabriel landed in the garden carry
ing a table and four chairs. He set'
them up and stashed his horn under
the nearest one. A clap of thunder'
sounded, and God appeared in the,
chair opposite Gabriel, sporting ten
nis whites and sunglasses.
"Courts all full, huh?" queried
Adam sympathetically as he and Eve
sat to His right and left respectively..
The Lord nodded in agreement and
dealt the first hand. As expected, He
dealt himself the best hand at the?
table and' opened the bidding. He
Sson got to three notrump, and Eve
led the jack of clubs. God won the ace
and pondered the situation.
For a Creator of the Universes, the
analysis was not difficult. He had
seven tricks in the minor suits and
needed two from the majors. Hearts
offered a 50% chance of the jack
onside, while spades required both;
the ace and queen to be right, only.
25%. So God led the deuce of hearts.
Eve played her three, and God
inserted dummy's eight. Adam start'
ed to win the jack, but remembered
somehing strange in the taste of the
apple, and played low instead.
The Lord was surprised b'u t
pleased to win the trick so cheaply.
He returned to His hand with a
diamond to repeat the heart finesse.
When Eve showed out, He knew He
had been had. If Adam had made the
normal play of winning the jack of:
hearts, God would have had no choice
but to try for two tricks in spades -
which happens to work.
Adam ran off his four remaining

hearts and Eve's ace of spades to
beat the contract one trick. But God
knew the source of Adam's inspira-
tion and also the ultimate outcome of
the introduction of deception to the
race. He turned to Adam and said,
"You have eaten from the Tree of
Knowledge which I expressly forbid:
Go ye from Paradise and toil the rest
of your natural lives. May thy
finesses always fail and trumps
break 5-0."
And the evening and the morning
were the eighth day.

Fellow Beer Persons,
Life is full of unanswered questions such as: Is there intelligent life
elsewhere in the universe? And if so, do they wear socks?
In beer, however, there are no unanswered questions. Because there
is only one word for beer, and you know it.
Therefore, as your Dean of Beer, I suggest you research
the essential rightness of the word for yourself at your next-
social function. Or even your next antisocial function.
And please note: The recommended source
material for locating the word can be found in any
phone booth. In other words, look in the Yellow
Pages. Under "Beer.
Thank you.


:~ ~''

A written examination for potential
Foreign Service Officers and U.S.
Information/Cultural Officers wil be
held on December 3, 1977 at 150
cities throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens
and 20 years of age. Application
deadline is October 21. For further
information and applications write to:
ROOM 7000



f n


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