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November 05, 1975 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-11-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


THE MICHIGAN DAILY
id E N E records in review Wednesday, November 5, 1975 P
I o

'age Five

Redb

C

ne hits right track
inscrutable new LP

withi
By JOAN BORUS
LEON REDBONE is one of the
most gifted and inscrutable
figures in the music world.
He is highly conversant with
the popular songs of the twen-
ties and an excellent ragtime-
style guitarist. In more ways
than one, he looks and sounds
like an old 78. And his first re-
lease, On the Track (Warner
Brothers BS 2888), c on f i r m s
that.
He has to be one of the cra-
ziest figures I've come across.
For instance, he says he was
born in a pool hall and claims
that his parents are Pagannini
and Jenny Lind. And no one
knows how old he is, although
he claims to be 303.
THE LP IS much more sub-

dued and tighter musically than
his performances-gone, for ex-
ample, are those drawn out
passages of scat singing that
Redbone often depends on to
cement his songs.
This is detrimental in the
sense that the record fails to
capture something that is in-
trinsic to his performing style.
And without seeing Leon's facial'
contortions, wierd costumes, and
seniorncitizen-stylejwalk, youj
may never know just how bi-
zarre he is.
So that's why this album
might be a bit hard to take if
you're not already familiar with
Redbone. And in the hands of
someone who's as proficient as
Redbone, the craziness of the
songs of the twenties and thir-

ties, with their insipid lyrics, is
exploited to the hilt.
LISTENING to On the Track<
is like taking a trip into the
past. Make no mistake; Red-
bone knows his stuff and he
knows it cold.
In fact, it's positively uncanny
just how much this record
sounds likemithcame straight
from a thirties nightclub. It has
that genuine tarnished, scratchy
sound of records from the
period. Everything-the washed-
out trumpets, the off-key clari-
nets, and the generally pale
sounding orchestrations-is per-
fectly rendered.
That goes for Redbone's vo-
cals too. His slurred, nasal-
sounding voice, yodeling a la
Jimmy Rodgers, and the scat
singing that drives audiences

s
z
i
t
3
T
i
t
i
,

wild is all here.
THE ALBUM sounds like a
jukebox that offers collected
favorites from the twenties and
thirties. "Lulu's Back In Town,"
"Polly Wolly Doodle," and "Big
Time Woman" - they're all
here.
However, my undisputed favo-
rite r e m a i n s "My Walking {
Stick," a relatively unknown=
Irving Berlin song about the
joys of a walking cane. Com-
plete with castanets and a
wicked tuba, it brings out Red-
bone at his seedy, lascivious
best.
Just as you get the most
pleasure out of hearing Redbone
when he's the opening act of a
concert, I think that On the
Track is best appreciated in
limited doses; it's easy to get
surfeited on this kind of music.'
Aside from that caution, the
only other one I need offer is
that you shouldn't listen to this
album in the daytime. Like
Leon, it only comes out best at
night.Arseesr
Arts briefs-fol

Records in Brief|
Leo Kottke-'Chewing Pine'
LEO KOTTKE is singing again. His latest album, Chewing Pine
(Capitol ST-11446), features Kottke's voice on three of the
twelve cuts on the LP, and-as they were on an earlier album,
Ice Water - his vocals are impressive and clear, nicely com-
plimenting his superb guitar work.
Kottke ranks easily as one of the best and fastest acoustic
guitarists performing today. His concert at Hill Auditorium last
May verified that fact; he held the audience spellbound as he
performed one outstanding song after another. His talent on both
six- and twelve string guitar-shines through just as clearly on
this new album.
Chewing Pine contains a variety of songs in the inimitable
Kottke style. The three vocal tunes are all on side one; "Stand-
ing On the Outside" and "Don't You Think" are both sad and sim-
ple love songs, and "Power Failure" is a powerful account of
an, electronic disaster of some sort.
Kottke and his back-up musicians show their muscles on this
tune, with keyboard man Bill Barber firing out a staccato stream
of piano chords and bassist Bill Peterson adding to the reality
of the "power failure" with an inventive electric bass line.
The instrumental cuts on the album are as professional as
anyone could possibly expect. Kottke has always exhibited a
bizarre sense of humor when it comes to titleing his instrumen-
tals as shown by "Regards from Chuck Pink," "Monkey Money,"
and "Can't Quite Put It Into Words." The latter, which Kottke
performed at the May concert, is ostensibly a tribute to his
father's more obvious gastric releases.
"Grim to the Brim" is an instrumental which features Kott-
ke performing solo on the acoustic guitar. It is an intricate piece
of music, skillfully weaved, as Kottke eases from one pace into
the next, smoothly coaxing a myriad of melodies together into
one fine tune.
THE LIGHTNING speed with which he plays his instrument

'ReCOctopus' put
Starship back in orbit'
By KURT HARJU
AFTER watching the Jefferson Starship's Redr
Octopus (Grunt BL 1-0999) dominate Bill-
board's Top Ten for the last few months, I
r -. °" '{ ,suspected that there must be even more to it
than its great hit single "Miracles." In fact,
this LP combines the best features of both the
old Jefferson Airplane and the former Starship
in an exciting new lineup.
The most publicized aspect of the present
group is Marty Balin (the writer and singer of
"Miracles"). Balin has rejoined Airplane com-
rades Grace Slick and Paul Kantner as a result
of their successful collaboration on the song
"Caroline" from the last Starship album,
Dragonfly.
He seems to be the one who is responsible
/ for the record's overwhelming emphasis on
/f love songs, which were definitely Balin's forte
/~m See OCTOPUS, Page 7
Harrison's new Texture'

Daily Photo by PAULINE LUKENS
n Redbone
dacn

Just before the Communists
assumed power in Tibet in
1965, a group of musicians and'
dancers fled to the Himalayas
in hopes of preserving their na-
tive folk arts.
That group has now become
the Lhamo Folk Opera Com-
pany. Sunday afternoon they
presented their 500-year-old
tradition of Tibetian songs and
dances in the second concert of
the University Musical Society's
Asian Series.
THE DANCES expressed va-1
rious aspects of Buddhism, the
state religion and the major
cultural force in Tibet. Evil
spirits, kings, and paupers
whirled by in a flurry.
The percussion instruments
and A loud, sour horn accom-1

panied jumping and stomping on
the stage.
All in all, the performance
was a strange, mysterious, and
delightfully different experience
for the Ann Arbor audience.
Fiesta Folklorico took over
the Power Center stage Monday
night, creating an atmosphere
The Michigan hockey team
is looking for a few good men.
Anyone interested in becom-
ing a student manager for
the Wolverine dekers should
contact coach Dan Farrell
personally or call him at 663-
2411. Prospective managers
should pin to have free time
from 3 to 6 in the, afternoon,

of "roll-out-the-sangria." The is impressive to any listener, and the effectiveness of Chewing
noisy, loud, vivacious National Pine is evident from the skillful music which Leo Kottke pre-
Dance Company of Mexico fro- sents.
licked and stomped through a. -Michael Baadke
program of their native region-
al dances. 0 9
A lasso artist drew vigorous Grover WashFgton-Feel So Good
applause for a lengthy display
of rope tricks. In "Dance of CROVER Washington's latest release, "Feels So Good," is once
the Deer," I was certain the again arranged by Bob James, and his fine hand can be
dancer would break his neck seen throughout the album, especially on the cuts "Sea Lion,"
as he arched violently through which he wrote, and "Knucklehead," ty Grover. "Moonstreams,"
the air. also by Washington, is easily the best number, with its slow and
THE CLOSING was a rousing mellow sound, while "Knucklehead" features an impressive use
zapeteo number, resembling of strings.
tap dancing. The title song is a rhythmic, flowing piece, which makes for
The exhuberance of the per- good listening. "Hydra" is an upbeat, funky track with a sound
formance was its greatest that will stick in your head and make you tap your toes.
merit. The dancers seemed' This album is enough like Mr. Magic for fans to recognize
py to share the joys of Mexi- Bob James and Grover Washington instantly, and good enough to
can song and dance. be a worthy addition to your music library.
-Cathi Suyuak --Nat Coney

.- -- -- - I

By LEE BERRY
tINCE HIS early work with,
5 the Beatles, George Harri-
son's music has always offered
considerably more than most
rock performers.
Approached on his albums
only by such artists as Neil
Young, Jackson Browne and a
few others, Harrison's work con-
sists of personal statements so
true and so starkly real that
the listener invariably finds him-
self nodding his head in agree-
ment4
Like Young, Harrison is an
alumnus of one of rock's most
prestigious fraternities. But,
while each harbors equal dis-
taste for the jet-set life of the
rock superstar, Young's current
hermit-like cynicism contrasts
sharply with Harrison's crusad-
ing optimism.
Extra Texture (Read All
About It), (Apple SW 3420), his
latest effort, maintains this
cheerful profile, from its bright
orange cover to its nonsensical
title to its closing song, a light-'
hearted tribute to "Legs" Larry
Smith.
But at the same time, Harri-
son forfeits none of his sensiti-
vity. On "The Answer's At The
End" he warn, "Don't be so
hard on the ones that you love/.
It's the ones that you love you
think so little of."

The tune progresses beauti-
fully into an instrumental inter-
lude in which Harrison whispers
"Isn't it a pity?" over David
Foster's string arrangement.
His closing lines, however, re-
flect his optimism in a truly con-
cerned plea for perserverence:
"Live on, live on, the answer's
at the end."
ON "THIS Guitar (Can't Keep
From Crying)," which Harrison
calls "a cheap excuse to play a
little guitar," he muses about
Rolling Stone magazine's failure
to recognize the validity of his
work in spite of his admittedly
limited t e c h n i c a I abilities:
"Thought by now you knew the
score/ But you've missed the
point just like before." True to
the song's title, Harrison's whin-
ing guitar licks snap tastily be-
tween verses.
On side two, the mood ad-
vances to a more serious, even
desperate, level. And it is here
that Harrison's startling emo-
tional awareness becomes evi-
dent.
The vocal on "Can't Stop
Thinking About You" is close
to a plaintive cry ("It's no good
living without you.") This theme
of loneliness seeps into "Grey
Cloudy Lies": "Sometimes it
seems like no chance/No clear
blue skies/ Grey cloudy lies."
"His Name Is Legs" ends the

album on an enthusiastic note,
reminiscent of the Beatles' "Let
It Be" B-side, "You Know My
Name (Look Up The Number)."
THE ALBUM'S single, "You,"
is also up-tempo, a gleefully
simple love song to Ronnie Spec- I
tor which succeeds despite its
simplicity. Harrison a I m o s t
laughs the lyrics over a thun-
derous rhythm led by Leon Rus-
sell's rocking piano and Jim
Horn's sax.
Both "Ooh Baby" and "World
of Stone" are noble efforts but
both fall short of their intended
marks because they lack musi-
cal direction. "Ooh Baby" is
worth a listen, though, (over
headphones if possible)
Instrumentally, Extra Texture
is flawless. Assisted by guitarist
Jesse Ed Davis, drummer Jim
Keltner, bassists Klaus Voorman
and Paul Stallworth and key- I
board men Nicky Hopkins, Gary
Wright and Leon Russell, Har-
rison has created a sound su-
perior to that on his previous
album, highlighted by his cc-
casional guitar breaks and sen-
sitive vocals.
Such competent musicianship,
sprinkled with morsels of Har-
rison's subtle wisdom and hu-
mor, has resulted in an album
which is extremely listenable,
despite its limitations.

.OmmSLE7A;

f2.: y: ,,..;:,..; ...
> : .
.:. 1; :5; 'i

Handel's

¢ssia C

:

-TONIGHT-
HAPPY HOUR

ML

Friday and Saturday, December 5 and 6, at 8:30

w 7A

t

HALF-PRICE
on
DRINKS
6.8:30
Movies every Mon. & Tues. Nites
15c HOT DOGS Every Friday from 2-5
p.m. while they last.

Sunday afternoon, December

7,

in Hill Auditorium
For nearly one hundred years, the University Choral Union
has annually presented these concerts to usher in the Christmas
season. It is not too early to buy your tickets now, so that
you may be assured of attending the performance of your choice.

at 2:30

Soloists this year are the highest caliber-soprano
Shigemi Matsumoto, who made her Ann Arbor debut last August in

ILIVE&SITY

0 I A) T INA

A/ L_.lV 114 . w 'anw-N

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