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February 12, 1976 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-02-12

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S id E O NE usic in review Thursday, February 12, 1976 Page Five

=h Weak lyrics mar I
'Inner Worlds'
JOHN McLAUGHLIN'S problem is that he has horrible
taste in lyrics.
As a guitar player, he's a maestro. Not only is his
technique superb, but his style is the model for the current
S generation of jazz guitarists. And as a composer andf
" band leader, he's repeatedly demonstrated brilliance, pro-
ducing lots of impeccable jazz recordings.
But McLaughlin's new Mahavishnu Orchestra has pro-
duced a slew of abysmaly bad songs, most of them suffer-
ing from shoddy lyrics.
AND IT'S this poor taste of his that spoils a good part
1 of his latest album, Inner Worlds (Columbia PC 33908).
Several of the sngs are turned sour by their lyrics. The
N music itself is good, but the words are so annoyingly satur-
ated with syrupy guru-religion that they spoil the tunes.
"Planetary Citizen" is a good eample. It's a rocking, up-
tempo number by bassist Ralphe Armstrong which has the
#x feel of a tough Motown recording. But the lyrics include >
, such gems as:
We're planetary citizens of the human race
And we want to make the world a better place.
Love is the answer to all the wars.
When we love one another we can open the doors.
And then there's "In My Life," a folky tune using acous-
tic piano and 12-string guitar which sounds almost like ~ -
a James Taylor recording. The instrumental backing is very
pleasant, especially McLaughlin's long, rapid, guitar riffs.
But the words ruin the effect.
Several of the album's non-vocal numbers are very ef-
fective. "All in the Family" starts off an exquisitely com-
plex drum, conga and marimba passage, changing to a
Latin-flavored jam. McLaughlin's solo is good but not
spe acular.N
"MILES OUT" features .a funky jam sandwiched be- 1j
tween a couple of long stretches of feedback, which sound4
like the opening notes of Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland. r
McLaughlin plays lots of tasty chords, and plays his leads m
.'h through something called a "'30' systems frequently shift g
er." The solo sounds bizzarrely electronic. m
"Lotus Feet" has an Indian-style drone humming in the c
background as Stu Goldberg plays gentle synthesizer leads. n
h "Inner Worlds" is spotty, and only a few of its best mo- hi
ments stck up with McLaughlin's best work.
" Ei
r ' p
4... 4,.
-]92 ................. ........ ...... ...................... .. .... . ..i4

Bette Miler's new album:
Pleasant, quiet 'Depression'

Bette Midler

BETTE MIDLER'S style has
always been, to use that old
word, eclectic. On her monu-'
mental first album, she com-
bined the Andrews Sisters, Leon
Russell, John Prine, and the
wack duo of Buzzy Linhart and
Mark Klingman, to produce a
snazzy, jazzy disc which alter-
nately pined, sighed, laughed
and sang.
The Divine Miss M then came
out withanalbum a year later,
called simply, Bette Midler, on
which appeared some more of
her old campy numbers, such
as "Uptown/Da Doo Run Run",
(corresponding to "Leader of
the Pack" on the first album),
Glenn Miller's "In The Mood"
(after the famous "Bugle Boy")r
and the "Lullaby of Broad-
But on her second album,
too, were some arty songs, such
as her breathy and moving,
rendition of Kurt Weill's "Sura-
of which on occasion seems almost
us beautiful. Yet even Beatrice's
ts, celestial majesty cannot save
rd- a piece that too often appears
ed to be a transcription of Verdi's
rse Requiem.
or- The wretched sonics of the al-
ser bum (the result of an econom-
so ically - minded live recording)
nd, further hampers the Paradiso
ge- Choruses. The composer may
have also felt a bit unsure of
re- the quality of his creation as he
ing included a full minute's worth
My of applause at the end as if to
ous reaffirm its musical worth.
to Such indulgence only strength-
ich ens the irritation.
ure INCLUDED with the Chorus-


baya Johnny", Hoagy Carmi- "Superstar," from her first al-I
chael's "Skylark", and Dylan's bum, lacks . the vulnerability'
"I Shall Be Released". captured here - and it is the
only time she comes anywhere
NOW, FOUR years after her near it on this disc.
vinyl debut, Bette Midler has This leads right into "Samedi,
come up with another album, { et Vendredi", a stylish little
Songs for the New Depression. French cafe number, of which
But who is she parodying and/ the lyrics were penned by Miss
or venerating now? The only M. The song amounts to a co-
number which lays a signifi- lossal snicker, a mix of her
cant claim to the name of camp innate inferiority feelings and
is "Stranger in the Night", and a thumb of her nose at her. de-
let me tell you: if the song tractors, as she has undeniab-
bored you when Sinatra did it, ily "made it."
it'll irritate you when Midler Samedi et vendredi et lundi


does it. She attempts an up-;
tempo, contemporary black'
sound with it, using her backup
vocalists in a cross between
bad Motown and gospel.
Side Two is, not unusually,
much more interesting than
Side One. It opens with a plain- I
tive and lovely ballad, "Shiver |
Me Timbers", which rivals "Do '
You Want To Dance?" for sen-
sual yet tender expressiveness.
es are three insipid composi-
tions for acoustic instruments
and tape by' Daniel Pinkham.;
It is almost pathetic to experi-
ence such innocent incompe-!
tence from a usually interesting
composer. Pinkham's new
works show an embarrassing ig-
norance of the mechanics and,
potential of electronic music
and a severely limited use of
organ and English horn in asso-
ciation with the tape.
Suffice to say that one need,
only listen to similar groupings
by Davidovsky (Syncronism no.
3), Berio (Thema), or Druck-
man (Animis I) for examples of

et dimanche
Anouilh Belmondo, Fernadel
et Bardot
Montalban Ricardo la la la
SHE IS listing off the celeb-
rities who appear to her in her
"cauchemars", her daydreams,
and though we are given to un-
derstand that she is the little
girl worshipping the feet of the
greats, we also know this: she
is no longer the little girl, she
is the STAR who hobnobs with,
just these people.
Which is not to say that this
comes off conceited or snobby,!
because it doesn't. It is quite
cute and whimsical, though a1
song on Side One, "Mr. Rocke-
feller" (lyrics by Miss M), is a;
forced and unsuccessful attempt
at replicating "Twisted" with
all its, slightly off-the-wall im-
plications. After all, no one,
really calls up Nelson Rockefel-;
ler to find out how he is. No'
one cares. Me, says Midler, I
care. But that's silly, and
emerges as merely boring.
The next song on the side,;
"No Jestering", is a bouncy,
up-tempo cross between AM:
radio and calypso-reggae-r&b.
The only refrain that is identi-

fiable after listening is Midler's
plaintive "Mummy, mummy,
he loves your daughter / No
Jestering", which makes one
think that "Jestering" is some-
what akin to "Jive Talking", or
at least in spirit. What is Jes-
tering, anyway? For that mat-
ter, what's English? And why
does Midler always have to play'
ENOUGH ranting. You will
hear nothing but praise in this
corner for Midler & Dylan's
rendition of 'Buckets of Rain"
on Side One. The song, from
Dylan's Blood on the Tracks
album, is performed here with-
out that self-pitying mush that
makes the quiet, lovely num-
bers of Dylan so hard to take
when he sings them. Yes, his
odious squawking .vpice is evi-
dent asshe sings this number in
duet, but it took Midler to give
this tune some life.
When Midler plays a tough
woman, she's fun to listen to;
when she's a sensual panther,
she's marvelous; 'when she's
little girl-sexy, you just want
to slap her.
THERE ARE a couple of
numbers which are more or
less incomprehensible - includ-
ing something called "Old Cape
Cod" (and who knows why she
did that), and the bridge be-
tween "Shiver Me Timbers"
and "Samedi et Vendredi",
which consists of seagull noises.
Is Bette Midler going Andy
All in all, Songs from the New
Depression is a quiet, pleas-
ant little album that is lacking
in Midler's real strength: vital-

F ATE IN his career and in
the midst of the twelve-tone
age, Arnold Schoenberg re-
marked, "There is plenty of
good music to be written in C
major." Schoenberg correctly
anticipated the eventual reac-
eptance of tonality, but it was
not until many years later that
is premonition came to pass.
George Rochberg, a promi-
ent and continually exciting
omposer, set many heads turn-
ing with his neo-Classic Third
String Quartet and with the
Paradiso Choruses (Golden
Crest NEC 114), Donald Martino
appears to be following a simi-
lar path.
Representing 'the third and
final act from his opera - in-
rogress based on Dante's Di-
vine Comedy, the Paradiso
Choruses were designed to cor-
respond to the Paradise section
of the poem. Through a mixture
of choruses, orchestra, and:
ape, Martino tried for an in-
spired dramatization of Dante's
Paradise but, instead, produces
a veritable inferno for the lis-
tener, too often on par with the
poem's seventh ring.
THE ESSENTIAL problem is
one of size. Scored for the
'Choruses" were an 83-piece
his own Flamencan pieces such
as Noches in Malaga (Nights in
Malaga), a final arrangement
played by the entire group. his
fingers crossed and leaped con-
tantly, drawing -out extrardi-
nary tone color.
The flamboyant encore -
Flamencan variations written by
he group - was certainly ro
anticlimax as the tireless quar-
et went to great lengths trying
o outdo each other. Grinning
and tapping their heels, each one
nonchalantly performed liquid
"rasgueados" (rapid strumming
movements), arpeggios, one-
handed flourishes and the
"golpe" (tapping the wooden
body of the guitar).

orchestra, a mixed chorus
128 voices, a children's chor
of 32 voices, twelve solois
and ten channels of pre-reco
ed tape. As with complicat
machinery, a large and diver
ensemble often present unf
seen problems to a compos
simply because there is
much that can 'go wrong, ar
in Martino's case, things lar
ly fall apart.
Dante has inspired the c
ation of many works, rangi
from Liszt's Dante Sympho
to Berio's Visage. The obvi
problem in setting any text
music is finding a sound whi
corresponds to the literate
and thus illuminates it with(
merely imitating its ambian
Unfortunately, Martino's fa
into the latter category.
Through the utilization of t
ed voices and children's ch
Martino attempted to rece
the angelic atmosphere of D
te's journey to the Ten He
ens. As the image of light
the most dominant symbol
the third section, special e
phasis is placed on recurr
passages of chorus and br
ensemble but the final impr
sion is largely one of acader
program music.
THE VOCAL writing, h
ever, is imaginative and
surely the work's most succe
ful element. Throughout
Choruses, Beatrice sings
well - developed vocal I


HAME (Ingar Bergman, 1969)
SHAME AUD. A--7 & 9
War disrupts the lives of two musicians on their island
home. This film chronoloaues the growing rif~t between Jan
Rosenberq with his unheroic deternination to remain alive
and his wife Eva as she maintains her humanity and
strength. Described by one critic as a document just before
extinction, SHAME is the third installment of a triloay
which includes HOUR of THE WOLF and PERSONAL. Liv
Ullman, Max von Sydow. Swedish with subtitles.
In AU D. A, ANGELL HALL--$1.25
2nd Truffaut double feature!

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The Romeros.-

first family of the

ANY, MEMBER of the Ro-
mero family playing alone1
would have been enough to ex-
hilarate a classical guitar en-1
thusiast. The four of them to-1
gether, as they were at Power;
Center on Monday night, was
enough to bring the audience to'
its feet in a standing ovation. 7
The Romeros, known as
"Spain's first family of guitar,":
are well worthy of that name.
Father Celedonio Romero and
his three sons, Celin, Pepe andA
Angel, each revealed in concert
that mark of the great guitarist1
-an iron grasp with the ap-
pearance of infinite delicacy.
Unlike many guitarists who
limit themselves to a cer'.ain
period or style of playing, their
repertoire included Bach and
Mozart, as well as 19th century
Spanish music and the tradi-
tional Spanish Flamenco.
THE CONCERT opened with
the "Concerto in D major forl
Four Guitars" by Georg Philipp
Telemann, transcribed by Cele-
donio Romero. The four players
brought out with fluid ease the
counterpoint and repeatingg
theme of the Baroque piece.
This was followed b. an ab-
solutely beautiful performance
of the popular and rapid second
Allegro movement of Bach's
"Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in
G major." The piece, with its
3/4 rhythm 'and twelve-note
themes, requires great evenness
of tone and timing made espe-
cially difficult on a plucked in-
strument such as the guitar.
The four-player sections of thej

ish fortress palace in Granada.
CELIN played a piquant con-
temporary piece-a "Sonatina"
by Federico Moreno-Torroba-
that showed his skill in coaxing
harmonic vibrations from every
string. Pepe played an extreme-
ly difficult transcription of
"Variations on a Theme" from
Mozart's "The Magic Flute,"
by Fernando Sor (an early 19th
century composer).
With stiff, though affectionate,
competition from all three sons,
Celedonio was still unbeatable
in his graceful command cver
the guitar. This became appar-
ent in his rendition of works by
Isaac Albeniz (a 19th century
Spanish folk composer) and in


OVne of the most visually dazzling
works in the history of film...
stunningly cinematic it ravishes the
A A- 11 - 1-


and enthralls the ear...
David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor

2ff6 of "PLAZA SUITE"
2 /6 of "You Know I Can't Hear You
When The Water's Running"
7/6 OF A PLAY"

PP l' -1

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