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September 14, 1975 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-09-14

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Sunday, September 14, 1975

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Sunday, September 14, 1975 THE MICHIGAN DAILY

...

s

Page Five
PROFILE

Bromberg: Ann

Arbor's

dear

down -home singer is

By STEPHEN HERSH
DAVID BROMBERG, t h e
bearded and bespectacled I
kid from New York, is Ann Ar-
bor's favorite folk singer. He's
as comfortable shouting down-
on-the-farm country tunes as:
urban blues, and he's especial-
ly happy to do his singing in
this city.
"I have a special affection
for Ann Arbor," Bromberg said
last week, "backstage" in the
kitchen of the local Ark Coffee1
House. "For quite a few years
I've been in love with a girl
who lives here, and I can't lure
her away. So I like to come
here because then I get to see,
her."
But his motives for frequent-
ing Ann Arbor aren't solely
prurient. "The audiences here1
are really special," Brom-
berg observed. "In most places,
when I sing old songs people
think I wrote them. But at the

top of the instrument's neck.
Bromberg first taught himself
some guitar chords when he
was 13. on his brother's blond
hand-made Mexican guitar.

a band together and play for
a salary in higher class places.
And I used to back people up
in clubs, people like Ramblin'
Jack Elliot."

"I was listening to the Weav- Pleading sweatiness, the
ers, Josh White, Big Bill Broon- singer unsnapped his d e n i m
zy, the Reverend Gary Davis, western shirt, then took off the
music like that. In high school, brown embroidered shirt be-
I organized a folk music quar- neath it. Down to a grey t-shirt.
tet, just before the big Peter, he polished off the last bite of
Paul and Mary craze." bagel and reached toward the
Bromberg went off to Colum- nearby table for a piece of
bia at the end of his stint in fried chicken.
the New York Public Schools,
and spent a year and a half as "I started playing session
a music major. with people like Chubby Check-
"I used to go out to the quad er and Jay and the Americans."
every night" he remembered, he went on. "At the same time,
"and sing at the top of my I was doing an act in folk
lungs." clubs. After I did that for some
"When I was 19," he con- time I went on the road with
tinued, "I started wandering Jerry Jeff Walker for a couple
around Greenwich Village. I of years. Then I started writ-
began playing there in "pass ing my own songs."
the basket' joints, and I took He lives now in New York
a leave of absence from City's East 80's, and likes to
school." listen to old blues and rock 'n'

back
the little nuances in his tone-
like putting a mocking edge on
his pleading blues demanding
better treatment from a wo-
man. He might start a num-
ber with a long stretch of coun-
try picking in the vein of "Tur-
key in the Straw," using short,
then long phrases, raising his
eyebrows at decisive moments,
gradually shift to a groove of
strumming chords, and finally
sing a few verses of some
phrase like "Oh, flop-eared,
flop-eared, flop-eared me," a
verse of "Oh me, oh me," get
tongue-tied, and laugh.
It's his tone and 'presence
that are captivating on stage,
not purity of voice or guitar
technique. Like so many folk
singers, his voice breaks once
in a while and he has trouble
reaching high notes.hBromberg~~
sounds more conversational
than pure and resonant. What's
attractive is the neat way he
sings a lyric like:
I wish she'd call me up
just one more time TN CONCERT, he relies on a
vast mental library of old
I'd rip out the receiver and folk, blues and country tunes,
let her waste her goddamn avoiding for the most part his
dime. own compositions which ap-j
pear on his albums. At the Ark
Lines like that are sung with lastrweek, playing his first un-
such rhythmic vehemence that accompanied concert in years,
Bromberg can draw a laugh he chose such blues standards
with the precision of a stand-up as "Key to the Highway," "No-
comedian body Knows You when You'rej
"oed"n ' :.,_

i

i
3
i

Ark people know the songs roll records, especially, at the
and what tradition they come IJE PUT THE guitar down to moment, records by "an old
from. They're familiar with pick up a bagel covered blues shouter from the 40's and
lots of different folk traditions, with Colby cheese. Taking the 50's named Wynonie Harris.
they catch nuances other audi- instrument from his lap re-
ences don't catch."' vealed a brown leather belt ,O(NSTAGE, THE subtlest
tooled with the slogan "Demon touches in Bromberg's per-
t OOKING DOWN AT his in Disguise". formances are the little smirks
Martin guitar, he began to "So I was playing these pass and wrinklings of his forehead
tune the strings methodically, the basket joints," he said. as his guitar solos shift into
turning the gold knobs at the "Every now and then I'd put a minor key for a moment, or

Blue Front: Unbowed before
the dictates of changing times

make you crazy. You don't
eat or sleep at regular hours,
so your body gets disoriented,
and your mind tends to follow
suit.
"The most destructive thing
atbout it, though," he added, "is
what they call the 'ongoing
present': there's always some-
thing that must be done, and
you can't look ahead or be-
hind. That's what really makes
you crazy."
(NE OF THE Ark's manag-
ers shouted to Bromberg from
across the kitchen, "I'm gonna
go make the announcements
now, David. You ready?"
Bromberg answered, "Yup,"
and picked his guitar up by the
neck.

UM VOLLEYBALL CLUB
GENERAL MEETING
Monday-Sept. 75, 7:30
Kuenzel Rm., Mich. Union
All undergrads and grads, men and
women, interested in playing competitive
D o w e r volleyball on the intercollegiate,
evel are-welcome.
For more info call Andy, 764-4850

Daily Photo by PAULINE LUBENS

i
i

(Continnod from Pag )1

folded. "We wanted to expand
our product line at one point,
but I guess we never got around
to it" he says in a tone of voicet
that is partially regretful, but
mostly resigned.
He lowers his eyes and as-
sumes a troubled tone when the
matter of security is broached.
He's wary of placing a dollar1
'value on his annual losses andN
thus encouraging thosershort of
cash and reading material. Dur-l
ing the active seasons of the
boom years, Collins retained as
many as six employes at once.a
Today, though, he is aided by
only one person, Jill, the coun-3
terwoman who has worked the;
cash register for five years. 1
EACH WEEK, the 73-year-old;
Collins must tie and stack av
mountain of dated reading ma-,
terial to be sent out and prepare
the shelves for new editions.
When not attending to a problem
at the counter or straightening
the shelves, he stations himself
at the combination work-area
lookout point next to the Front's
Arbor-Packard street entrance.:'
Two other doors punctuate the
storefront, but both were board-
ed up years ago, lest the extra
exits provide too easy an escape
route for prospective shoplifters.'
The half-century evolution of
retail security systems - rang-
ing from barred doors to mir-
rors to magnetic window alarms
-have, like so many evolving
trends, totally passed by theI
Blue Front.
Has Collins ever, over the
years, considered installing a
security system? The question
produces a concerned frown and
inspires a quick, protective

glance down the magazine aisle than a growing cc
now flanked by a handful of Collins, though, iti
browsers. His eyes wearily draw life, and he planst
back, then avert to the floor. it and put up with
"Well, you know that mirrors days and seven-da3
business sounds pretty good,", as long as he is abl
he sighs. "But I guess I never five more years"
really got around to it." an offhand manne
He's asked if the job has be- knows that Collins
come a strain after fifty years. I ceive of life witho
His eyes wander to a distant Front.
wall. No, not really, he says. ;Jill, his counterv
Once you get into the newspa- the answer for t
per business, it kind of getsth anwrfrt
into your blood. customers who w
Collins has had several of- could possibly ke
fers to sell the place over the man coming back
years, but never found one he "Does he like it?
could accept. "Partly because here for fifty years.
they weren't good enough, part- like it."
ly because I wasn't ready to
get out."

tncern. For
is a way of
to stay with
the 14-hour
y weeks for I
le. "Four or)
he says ini
er, but one
can't con-
ut the Blue
woman, has
hose casual
onder what
ep the old
every day;
He's been
He'd better

Is GUITAR PICKING isn't1
any purer than his voice.
While strumming complicated
chord patterns or picking diffi-
cult runs, he often hits muted
strings, or loses control of his
dynamics. But though he can't
play like a Norman Blake, he's
competent when he's not trying}
anything ambitious, and he can
play funny sometimes, the way
Chico Marx played the pianoj
funny. He does a good job on
the old blues joke of placing a
few slithery notes in the mid-
dle of a lyric in place of a
word describing the sexual act;
he plays unexpected notes
which, for some reason, just
sound amusing, and he invari-
ably underscores the point with
his facial expression.
- - - - - -

Down and Out," and Sittin' on
Top of the World;" a few
country farm tunes; and a num-
ber about being assaulted by
roaches and bedbugs, which he
introduced Monday by saying,
"This is a song about New
York that I wrote. The funny
thing about it is that it was
recorded by Furry Lewis in
1927."
"I'm on the road more than
I used to be," he complained,
"and it's getting harder to
handle. In subtle ways it can

I

Stephen Hersh is a
tributing Editor to the
day Magazine.

Con-
Sun-

1

U-M SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING CLUB
Mi.AI..,IIFI i-

CLINICS and TRYOUTS
a WED., SEPT. 17-24-OCT.1
* 7-9 P.M.
9 MARGARET BELL PQOL
- - -

HE BLUE
den spot.

FRONT is no gar-: Paul Haskins is the Daily's;
It's more a relic Editorial Director.

----f9

Dr. Paul C. Uslan
OPTOMETRIST
Full Contact Lens Service
Visual Examinations
548 CHURCH ST.
663-2476

ANN ARBOR
CIVIC BALLET
AUDITIONS
For Junior and Major Corps

II4,
ii
44
)
066

Israeli
Dancing
Tuesday, Sept. 16

YOM KIPPUR SERVICES
SEPT. 14 SEPT. 15
Orthodox 7:15 p.m. 9:00 a.m.
Conservative 7:15 p.m. 9:00 a.m.
Reform 7:15 p.m. 9:00 a.m.
ORTHODOX and REFORM services
at HILLEL, 1429 Hill
CONSERVATIVE at LYDIA MENDELSSOHN
(in the Michigan League)
On the occasion of the Jewish New Year the B'noi B'rith
Hillel Foundation at the University of Michigan wishes
Happy New Year and Welcome to Campus to: Hebrew
House, AEPi, Israeli Student Organization, Association of
Jewish Grad. Students, Habad, the Israeli Union, Habonim,
and Shomer Hatzair.

Wednesday, Sept.

17

8 p.M.

7:00 P.M.
SYLVIA HAMER DANCE STUDIO

at HILLEL
1429 HILL STREET
663-3336

525 E. LIBERTY

Telephone 668-8

II

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