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October 29, 1975 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1975-10-29

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records in review


Wednesday; October 29, 1975

Page Five





Madcap duo's antics

fast course
in craziness
IF YOU COULD place the zany members of the
Firesign Theatre in an academic setting, they}
would probably have PhD's in cultural analysis
and its comic appreciation. Their latest collectivef
effort, In The Next World, You're on Your Own
(Columbia PC 33475), is so in tune with today's
:razy world that it's like taking a crash course
in modern American society.
What makes the Firesign Theatre so percep-
tive is that they don't concentrate on just one
or two topics but on the whole secene that's re-
volving about them. Unlimited by either time or
place, they can go off on the most far-fetched
tangents and still wind up making a telling point.
On this LP, they examine the role that televi-S
sion and the movies have played in shaping our
daily lives., Using their usual off-the-wall radio
format, they weave a tale of family-the Coolzips
-who live on every program on the screen. The
fantastic storyline follows them through a police'
show, a soap opera, a game show, a baseball
game, and an Academy Awards presentation <.
while also featuring parodies of the latest com-
mercials and a Nick Danger-type of narration
that pulls the whole thing together in the end.
WITHOUT GIVING away the plot, it's enough}
to tell you that the police hero's daughter is an
X-rated porno star and the game show prize is
holding Hollywood up for ransom for a group -.
named the "Dog Indians."
The presentation remains tight throughout the
entire album, though it is divided into two parts: ..$
"Police Street (It's The Worst Street In Town,
It's So Bad)" and "We've Lost Our Big Kab-
loona." Dedicated to Jorge Luis Borges and Ray- PHIL PROCTOR pe
mond Chandller and written by Phil Austin and the Power Center.
See NEXT, Page 8 Channel 85, a fictiti
Elton s new
By MICHAEL BAADKE a hospital inmate's paranoia, a
IT ISN'T EASY to determine who is Like a Bullet" concerns the
jT IN'TEASYto eteminewhoisand thoughts on a romantict
really at fault for Elton John's new- which has ended. The rest of
est LP, Rock of the Westies (MCA-2163). drifts from one pointless topic
Part of the blame must go to Elton's song-
writing partner Bernie Taupin, who sur- THIS LACK of sensitivity is
prisingly has produced a set of lyrics that by Elton John himself. Seven
is irritating and trivial. cuts on the album are cente:
Rock of the Westie is plagued with bouncy, pop-rock melodies,
songs from Jamaica, bar fights in Mexi- "Philadelphia Freedom," Elt(
co, "pilots of the future," and "Street release of last year.
Kids." This is in sharp contrast to El- On: one such song, "Billy
ton's previous LP, Captain Fantastic and the White Bird," the trite phr
the Brown-Dirt Cowboy, which contained it out" is repeated a total(
songs of deep personal meaning and lyri- times, which is - a bit much b
cal depth. standards.
Only two songs on the new album con- ELTON'S piano-playing abilit
vey that same quality: "Feed Me" is a can be heard) is still as awesot
moving tune which inches its way through -he has few rivals in rocki
Insensitive vocals I

deIight Firesign


INCORPORATING even the concert's location and
some technical problems into their act, the mad-
cap duo of Phil Proctor and Peter Bergman present-
ed an electrifying program of comedy and craziness
to a small but very enthusiastic crowd of 600 at the
Power Center Monday night.
Running onstage only to find their microphones
out of order, they immediately made the most of the
situation by performing some vocal magic and
remarking that with a name like the "Power"
Center, something had to go wrong. They took care
of the sound check so smoothly that .it was hard to
believe it was not part of their show.
Their versatility in improvising helps make their
generally hilarious two-part presentation even fun-
nier. In the first segment of the program, they
focused on Ann Arbor culture by means of a fictional
cable station-Channel 85-that provided the format
for their first album together (outside of the Firesign
Theatre), TV Ort Not TV.
USING A "Stoney" television set, they switched
into many different personas and programs including
a highbrow version of "The Fall and Decline of The
Roman Umpire" and a drug lecture by the sensa-
tional soul star, Red Pills, who was an audience
favorite with his nulti-colored Afro, rubber guitar
and his obvious "under the influence" condition.
The second half of the program was devoted to
their latest album, What This Country Needs, in
which they humorously tried to find an answer to
everybody's problems. Under such guises as Dr.
Astro or Chef Henri, they exhibited absurd views
about bizarre subjects that nevertheless made per-
fect nonsense to the hard-core crowd of Firesign

Though they used very few costumes and props,
they took advantage of them so effectively that just
the sight of Bergman wearing glasses and a mous-
tache or Proctor with a baseball cap on backwards
was enough to establish a definite character or
situation. More than just stand-up comedians, they
rose to every occasion that their surreal imagina-
tions could suggest
THEY ARE decidedly more political in person
than on record; to their credit, they gave the best
imitation of Gerald Ford I've ever heard. All
dressed up in a ski outfit, the President explains
that he skis because his advisers told him to stay
close to the polls-and he's not kidding either.
The Watergate transcripts and, indeed, the whole
idea of taping conversations, provided a lot of
humorous mileage as they "expletive deleted" their
way through some famous moments of recent history
or sped up their conversation pace as if they were
"reel to reel" and not real.
Their rapport with the audience was amazing as
they traded anagrams of people and cities with
each other. Some of the best were "Legs On Sale"
(Los Angeles) and "Roited" (Detroit), although
they admitted being somewhat stumped by Ann
Arbor as they came up with "Rob An Ran."
ALTHOUGH the attendance was disappointing for
this first event in the UAC World Lecture Series,
there was no doubt that anyone who went to see the
comedians was more than satisfied with the end
result. , While they seem to attract only a select
group of people, UAC is planning on bringing the
duo back in the spring because of the artistic
success of the concert.
That basically answers the big question of the
evening-what this country really needs are more
comedians like Proctor and Bergman, who were
able to provide exciting visual entertainment from
their largely audio material.


Doily. Photo by PAULINE LUKENS
erforms as "Clark Cable"' during Monday night's Proctor.Bergman show at
This sketch is from "TV or Not TV," a 1973 album which takes place on
ous cable television station.
'Rock trva0

and "I Feel
bitter sec-
the album
to another.
of the nine*
red around
similar to
on's single
Bones and
ase "check
of fifty-one
by anyone's
ty (when it
me as ever
music who

can match his keyboard versatility.
Rock of the Westies suffers from an
over-abundance of catchy tunes. Any one
of the nine songs on the album could be
marketed on Top 40 radio, and it is dis-
appointing to find an album so designed.
ELTON JOHN'S major talent has al-
ways been in producing a- variety of
quality music; the popularity of his ear-
lier albums can be attributed to the in-
tricate construction of his songs and the
various musical settings he placed them
However, the new album was released
a bare six months after Captain Fantas-
tic, and the end result is a collection of
songs which, despite a few entertaining
moments, sound like they were put to-
gether with very little forethought.

... ._..........

mar King's




ially quick, clean, and

REDDIE KING'S claim to penerL1tini' It's a very fresn
fame is his guitar soloing sounding tune.
- his rapid, stinging blues at- The version of Bob Dylan's
tacks which, aside from dis- "Meet Me In the Morning" is
playing consummate artistry more spirited than the plodding
in themselves, have influenced original, and the guitar breaks
the sounds of such stars as spice it up nicely. But King's
Eric Clapton. singing isn't sensitive enough
It's the solos and only the for the material. It's blues]
solos that live up to the pre- shouting, tough and resonant,
mise on King's latest LP, Lar. but without much depth or au-
ger Than Life (RSO 4811). The thority. The sax solo by David
guitar work is as sharp as any- "Fathead" Newman adds a
thing he's recorded; but, un- pleasant emotional touch.
fortunately, it doesn't dominate A
the album; it only comes! five -minute -long version
around for a few choruses at a Woman" starts off with some
time, sandwiched between gen- new lyrics, and doesn't get to
erous amounts of King's sing- the old familiar ones until the
ing. * he-

The Killing


Kubrick's first film that alerted critics to his limitless potential. 7:15
Dr. Strangelove 1964
or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Laugh through clenched teeth as a psychotic American general orders
the nuclear attack that begins the total annihilation of Earth. PETER
and KEENAN WYNN. 1i:00 only.

:: .
yc J
: \
,;. ,
t. 'r

':,. e
- '

y ,:. _ty .

Aud. A
Angell Hall

$2 double bill


last m n ts its a roking ' " . rn+..t - v .r . y :-"
And the spotlight should be on absorbing track, but it rambles.
King's forte, on the talent that -s-n-a-b-t-l-
puts him in the front ranks of ' KING DOESN'T seem to have
the blues musicians in this learned the lessons of Cream
countrt direct a band through and other late-60's pioneering 1
ment to dires ahand tro rock groups who demonstrated Y on LD 'E l S PRESENTS
a lot,- of blues changes, or to: howv effective a band can be
sing decent cover versions of a hich sets out to showcase the
string of blues tunes. But King's tal etsfa soloist:socs h T HE A WA RD WI N N 1 NG
guitar playing is indeed rare.
The longer tracks from Larg- I ationanetlms
THE FIRST cut, "It's Bet- er Thaln Lif wrcou be r Nu oilational Main teTheatreU
ter to Have (And Don't Need)," better use as a vehicle for
works better than anything else King's virtuosity. The familiar
on the album because it isn't short blues tracks work fine,
plain blues. Thr changes are but alone they aren't the stuff
interesting, and the guitar work of effective albums.
(AT 7:00)
Laughton as Quosimodo, literature's most bi-
zarre anti-hero, in this classic adaptation of the
Victor Hugo novel With Maureen O'Sullivan.

Lhamo Folk Opera
of Tibet

To preserve the mystique of Tibet's unique artistic heritage, the Dalai Lama
formed a society whose members today are the only surviving masters who per-
form 'Lhamo," the Tibetan traditional opera whose precise beginnings are not
recorded. A kaleidoscope of sound and color not to be missed-rich brocades,
shimmering silks, striking nasks, drums and cymbals.
Concert this Sunday afternoon, Nov. 2, at 2:30;
in Rackham Auditorium;

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